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:
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "DARRAN COLLINS" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2018 10:10:47 +0100
Subject: From Darran Collins,
From Darran Collins,
Please pay attention and understand my aim of e-mailing you today, my name is Darran Collins, Project Analyst, enterprise finance guarantee at NatWest Bank plc. London. I ask your consideration to this transaction with utmost confidentiality. Being a top executive at NATWEST Bank, I discovered a numbered account with a credit balance of £12,700,000 .00 (Twelve Million, Seven Hundred Thousand British Pounds) which belongs to one of our deceased customers (Renato Ribeiro) a Brazilian Millionaire who died during Brazil landslide January 2010. Due to my position at the bank, I have secret details and necessary contacts to claim these funds without any hitch. I only need your HELP as a foreigner to assume the beneficiary, because my position as a civil servant and a staff of the bank does not permit me or my relatives to make this claim. Therefore, I want you to stand as the “Foreign Beneficiary", and I assure you of a perfect transfer strategy in your name legally to avoid any susp
You will earn 40% of the entire sum for your participation in this great financial deal, Upon consideration of this proposal, I request (Your full name, Contact address and your direct telephone/fax number) to enable me re-profile the fund in your name as the beneficiary, for the bank to release and transfer the fund to any of your nominated bank account. Considering the volume of discretion required for success of this project, i ask your reply to my private email: email@example.com, and you are free to call me on my phone number above for clearer explanations.
Thanking you in anticipation of your immediate reply.
Project Analyst, Enterprise
NatWest Bank Plc. London