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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "certified bank draft" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a "New Partner from Paraguay" scam.
- 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: "Mr. John Mark." (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2017 09:21:06 +0300
Subject: I thank you for your past efforts.
I'm happy to inform you about my success in getting the fund transferred under the co-operation of a Business Partner from Bangladesh. Presently I'm there for Business opportunities and investment with my new partner, because he insisted that I have to come and invest in his country.
Meanwhile, I didn't forget your past efforts and attempts to assist me in transferring those funds to your care for investment opportunities in your country, despite that it failed us somehow.
Now, I want you to contact my Secretary; his name is James Aka and his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org Contact him to send to you the total sum of $1,200,000, which I kept for your compensation for all the past efforts and kind words to me. I appreciate all your efforts at that time and therefore decided to compensate you now. Contact James Aka and instruct him on how to send the amount to you. The money is in a certified BANK DRAFT.
I have forwarded instruction to my Secretary James Aka on your behalf in order for you to receive the money, so feel free to get in touch with him and he will send the amount to you without any delay.
Thank you again.
Mr. John Mark.