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:
- "top of the day to you" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "hundred thousand us 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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "FBN Group - Lara Davies" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 30 Sep 2017 11:05:00 +0200
Subject: Re: 27 September 2017 - Is This Your Will ?
Top of the day to you,
Pardon my email enquiry, but it is the ethical thing to do before reverting.
I need to know if you assigned one Debra Pfitzner of #130 Clare St, Bethel, OH 45106 - USA your Will and Testament to receive your estate with an ATM Card in your name sum value $1,500,000 it contained.
Debra Pfitzner sent a notification to this bank that you were involved in an auto crash two weeks ago, that she [Debra Pfitzner] has been assigned as the sole beneficiary to your estate and the unpaid fund still lodged with our bank the sum of One Million, Five Hundred Thousand US Dollars only.
We request your prompt response confirming or revoking the application sent in by Debra Pfitzner - if you are truly alive.
We will not be held liable if we do not hear from you within 10 business days as we will have no option than to release the ATM Card to your assigned next of kin, in the person of the applicant Debra Pfitzner of Bethel, Ohio - USA
Telephone #: +234 816 493 2126
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