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)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- 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. Edu Romano Gomez" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2018 07:59:22 +0200
Subject: Kindly indicate your interest
I am Edu Romano Gomez; the Chief Executive Officer of a renowned consultancy firm here in Spain. I was contracted to audit the accounting section of some firms in Spain. This audit is in line with government policies and account reconciliation became necessary following the current European Economic crisis which Spain happens to be one of the severely affected within the Euro Zone.
During my audits, I discovered a dormant account due to inactivity. The said account has been dormant for over a decade as the initial account holder is now demised. Against this backdrop, I decided to contact you in order to confirm your familiarity with the deceased client? From our preliminary findings, you shared same last name with suspicious of common heritage
The floating fund in the dormant account amounts to the tune of Nine Million Three Hundred Thousand Euro (€9,300 000:00). I know you may not be anyway related to the deceased but having a common Last name with him will ameliorate this deal and the modalities I would be applying; I can guarantee that if you follow my instructions the deposit will be release to us.
Kindly indicate your response to this email via my private email address or to my fax number below and owing to the sensitivity of this situation, I urge you to keep this proposal with utmost confidentiality pending our discussion.
Thanks for your time and expecting your response.
Mr. Edu Romano Gomez