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 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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Christine Lagarde" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 30 Oct 2017 12:44:39 +0200
Subject: Confirm Your Funds
I am Christine Lagarde of IMF Head Office.
Your email appeared among the beneficiaries, who will receive a
part-payment of your contractual sum of 6.5 Million US Dollars and has
been approved already for months. You are requested to get back to me
for more direction and instruction on how to receive your fund.
However, we received an email from one Mrs. Virgie Brown who told us
that she is your next of kin and that you died in a car accident last
week. She has also submitted her account for us to transfer the fund
to her. We want to hear from you before we can make the transfer to
confirm if you are dead or not.
Please in confirmation that you are still alive, you are advised to
reconfirm the below listed information to enable us facilitate an
immediate payment for you.
1 Your full names
2 Your present contact address.
3 Your telephone & Fax numbers.
4 Your Occupations/age/sex.
5 Your Private E mail Address.
Once again, I apologize to you on behalf of IMF (International
Monetary Funds) for failure to pay your funds in time, which according
to records in the system had been long overdue.