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:
- "are expected to pay " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "million 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)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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: "Mr Cyrus Abraham" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2017 02:37:08 -0700
Subject: FOR YOUR KIND ATTENTION / YOUR PAYMENT
Dear Valued Beneficiary,
We are writing to inform you that we received a petition on your behalf concerning your unpaid contract / inheritance payment which have been long over due.
However,we have been directed by the Office of the Presidency,Republic of South Africa to contact you and let you know that the sum of $2.5 Million USD (Two Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) has been approved to be paid to you as part payment for your long overdue payment with the Ministry of Finance. Your payment file with us indicates that you have a total of $15 million dollars outstanding payment.But the Office of the Presidency has approved just $2.5 million part payment to be paid to you while the balance shall be paid thereafter.
Meanwhile,the Management of the Reserved Bank of South Africa has scheduled to pay these $2.5 million USD to you through our Automated Teller Machine Card (ATM Card). We have processed and programmed the ATM Card to pay you a maximum of $20,000 (Twenty Thousand United States Dollars) everyday in any ATM Machine in your country.We have also arranged with our accredited lawyer, Barrister Sean Moore for him to pick it up from our office for his onward delivery to your contact address.
We therefore implore you to contact our Bank Accredited Lawyer immediately through his personal contact details below for the delivery of your ATM card as scheduled.
Name: Mr Sean Moore
Please note that you are expected to pay the Lawyer the sum of $225.00usd only for the secure delivery of this ATM card to your address. Also ensure that you send these your undermentioned personal information to him.
1.Your complete Names
2.Your contact address for the delivery.
3.Your phone number.
Mr Cyrus Abraham.
(Director of Legal Dept)