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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "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)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "MINISTRY OF INTERIOR" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2019 18:07:40 +0200
Subject: FIRST QUARTER PAYMENT
From The Desk of The Minister
Federal Ministry of Interior
Internal and Foreign Affairs
Aso Rock Villa Abuja, Nigeria
Your Contract Inheritance/Compensation payment has been approved for urgent transfer to your
account through Bank Of New York Mellon yesterday by the Senate Committee.
You're advised to get back to us immediately with your information to enable us prepare
Authorization letter that will enable the Bank Of New York Mellon Credit your account within the next
Note: The approved part payment is $8,600,000.00 (Eight Million Six Hundred Thousand United States Dollars Only), the balance will be remitted on or before the end
of first quarter of 2019.
We look forward hearing from you.
Yours In Service,
Rtd. Gen A. Bello Dambazau
For: The Ministry of Interior