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 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)
- "urgent assistance" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Phillip Danba" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2019 07:39:26 -0600
Subject: Good Day,
I want you to patiently read this business proposal. My name is Mr.
Phillip Danba. I work with a financial Institution. I got your contact
address from the International business directory in my private search for
a business partner abroad. I need your urgent assistance in transferring
the sum of $14 million dollars which belongs to a foreign customer who
died in a plane crash four years ago. Since the death of the
depositor/customer, the money has been in our bank without claim and all
efforts to locate any member of his family relatives failed. I want to
release the money to you as the deceased NEXT OF KIN for the benefit of
both of us.
Upon your acceptance to work with me, I will send you the full details on
how the transfer will be executed. Kindly reply me as I am hoping, so that
I will give you more information regarding this transaction.
Expecting your reply.
Mr. Phillip Danba