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:
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",500,000" (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)
- 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: Steven Mnuchin <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 2019 16:12:01 -0400
Subject: United States Treasury Department
This is to inform you officially that after our investigations with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other Security Agencies in the Country, we discovered that you have not receive your fund.
I have made it my first point of call since taking office to settle all Outstanding Payments accrued to Individuals or Corporations with respect to local and overseas contract payment, Debt Rescheduling and Outstanding Compensation payment.
This is to make sure all Outstanding payments are settled beginning of this fiscal year 2019. On Behalf of the entire staff of the U.S. Department of Treasury and the United Nations in collaboration with World Bank, we apologize for the delay of your contract payment, Winning or Inheritance funds from most of African Countries and all the inconveniences you encountered while pursuing this payment.
However, from the records of outstanding beneficiaries due for payment, your name was discovered as next on the list of the outstanding payment who has not yet received their payments.Note that from the record in my file, your outstanding contract payment is US$10, 500,000.00 (Ten Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars) .
I have your file here in my office and it says that you are yet to receive your fund valued at US$10,500,000.00 (Ten Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars). This Funds will now be release to you as your preferred payment option.
We have perfected all modules on how to release your fund without any problem, but be aware that United Nations and the United States Government has only authorized my office to release the Sum of US$10,500,000.00 to you as true beneficiary of the Fund. Feel free to reply me back; firstname.lastname@example.org to this matter.
Mr. Steven Mnuchin Jr.
Executive Secretary United States Treasury Department