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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "await your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a next of kin 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Martin Frank" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2018 21:05:39 -0000
Subject: $ Await your urgent response
From the Desk of:
I wish to seek your assistance for the transfer of US$40M depository made by a foreign investor for an investment programmed that has remained dormant for years now. I discovered that the account holder died without making a WILL on the depository. And upon my further curious investigation, the deceased was a member of a government agency where huge amounts were reportedly missing.
This money cannot be approved to a local bank account holder, but can only be approved to a foreigner. If you will stand as next of kin to the fund, it will be shared 50%/50%, as this is a TWO-MAN business deal transaction, I shall provide you with more details and relevant documents that will help you understand the transaction.
If this proposal is acceptable by you, I advised you provide immediately your full Names and Address, Date of Birth, Occupation, Tel & Fax Numbers.
I await your urgent response. Do reply me thru this e-mail email@example.com
Thanks with great regards.