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:
- 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:
- "million united state 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. George Culmer" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2017 18:15:50 -0500
Subject: Re: business proposal
From: Mr. George Culmer
Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer.
LLoyds Banking Group United Kingdom.
Greetings To You !!!!!
Firstly, I am Mr. George Culmer, the Executive Director and Chief Financial
Officer of Lloyds Banking Group United Kingdom. I am contacting you for a
legitimate business transaction strictly for you and me alone. I personally
discovered a dormant account with a total sum of USD$126 MILLION UNITED STATE
DOLLARS here in our bank. The owner of this dormant account died and Since his
death, nobody has operated in his account because the account has NO
attached to it. According to our BANKING CODE OF ETHICS and decision
the new British Prime Minister Theresa May, this dormant fund will be
confiscated by law and will be diverted to the British Treasury as Unclaimed
fund if it remains dormant for a period of  Eleven years without
I therefore solicit for your sincere cooperation in transferring this dormant
fund to your foreign account as the foreign beneficiary of the fund to avoid
confiscating it by our bank. I will split the transfer into two 2 stages for
easy and smooth transfer. Firstly, I will transfer $6,000,000.00 to any valid
foreign account you will nominate. After a successful transfer of the fund, I
will fly to meet you in your home destination for sharing. Thereafter
transfer the remaining balance of USD$120 MILLION DOLLAR for big investment in
your country. This transaction will be done in a legitimate procedure
banking days to avoid any breach of the law. HOW THE TRANSACTION CAN
As the Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer of our bank,all
account details and file are in my possession and that makes it easy for me to
include your name as the beneficiary of the fund in all necessary documents
involving the money we wish to transfer out from our bank. Most
will be required to:
- Act as the original beneficiary of the funds.
- Receive the funds into a business/private bank account.
- At the completion of this transaction, the sharing rates shall be 55% for me
while 45% for you.
If you are willing to cooperate in this project let us proceed immediately for
PRIVATE EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anticipating for your positive response for more details.