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)
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million united states 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)
- "await your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "is 100% risk-free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "ANTONIO M. GONZALO" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 21 Aug 2018 16:16:26 -0700
Subject: DEAR FRIEND,
From The Desk Of: ANTONIO M. GONZALO
Executive Corporation, Madrid, Spain.
I am the financial controller of Repsol Petroleum Company in Madrid, Spain. I and my colleagues are in charge of offshore remittance in this Corporation (Repsol Petroleum). We are seeking your assistance to transfer the sum of Thirty Five Million (US$35,000,000.00) to your account for further private investment.
This amount accrued from an over-invoiced contract amount for the construction of Oil Refinery Sub- stations in 2013 to expatriate companies. The contract was originally valued for One Hundred and Twenty Seven Million United States Dollar US$127,000,000.00) but we manipulated the figure to read one Hundred and Sixty Two Million United States Dollars ($162,000,000.00). We want to transfer the extra $35,000,000.00 to your bank account.
This contract has been completely executed and the original contractors have been paid all their contract bills less this $35,000,000.00 through Banco Santander SA in Madrid Spain. We shall forward your name to the Bank for the payment of the balance US$35Million. Be rest assured that all modalities are set for smooth execution of this viable transaction. For your assistance, we have agreed to remunerate you with 40% because it is impossible for us to claim the amount here in Spain without foreign collaboration. 3% has been mapped out for any miscellaneous expenses incurred by either party during this business, and 57% for my colleagues and myself.
This explains exactly why we will make a concrete agreement between you and us, should you be willing to assist in this deal. All modalities to effect the payment and subsequent transfer of this money have been worked out. This transaction is 100% risk-free but requires 100 percent confidentiality. You must do this transaction alone! This is a golden opportunity which you must not afford to miss. We choose you for this transaction because we believe that good friends can be discovered and businesses such as this cannot be realized without trust. You can be rest assured that absolute security is guaranteed, and realistic success is 100% certain. This letter is reaching you vie a friend going to England.
I await your urgent response.
ANTONIO M. GONZALO