fighting spam and scams on the Internet
"419" Scam – Advance Fee / Fake Lottery Scam
The so-called "419" scam is a type of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Victims of the scam are promised a large amount of money, such as a lottery prize, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account, etc.
Victims never receive this non-existent fortune but are tricked into sending their money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses as well as communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.
Keep in mind that scammers DO NOT use their real names when defrauding people.
The criminals either abuse names of real people or companies or invent names or addresses.
Any real people or companies mentioned below have NO CONNECTION to the scammers!
Read more about such scams here or in our 419 FAQ. Use the Scam-O-Matic to verify suspect emails.
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Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- This email uses a separate reply address that is different from the sender address. Spammers use this to get replies even when the original spam sending accounts have been shut down. Also, sometimes the sender addresses are legitimate looking but fake and only the reply address is actually an email account controlled by the scammers.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "million united states dollars" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "department of mineral resources" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Byron Clark" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2017 07:59:00 -0700
Subject: Dear Sir/Madam,
FROM: BYRON CLARK
PRIVATE BAG X59, PRETORIA , 0001
MINERALIA CENTRE, 234 VISAGIE STREET,
PRETORIA - SOUTH AFRICA.
The purpose of this letter is to formally seek your assistance in transfer of Twenty Six Million United States Dollars (US$26M) for successive investment in your country. As an executive board member of the Project Committee of the Department of Mineral Resources in South Africa I can confirm that this fund is legitimate from tender awarded to overseas firms. You will be required to Advice on lucrative areas of investment in your country and also manage the fund in a profitable business in your region with good Annual Return on Investment (AROI).
If you decide to render your service in this regard you would be adequately rewarded for your responsibility. The Strategy is to use my influence as an account manager and provide you with the relevant information to enable you put in application for disbursement of the fund in your favour.
I trust that you are capable to handle this project and I certainly look forward to your participation by sending your full information after consideration via my email: email@example.com.