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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "necessary legal documents" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "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)
- ",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)
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- 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: "Tony" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 28 Aug 2019 11:31:05 +0200
Subject: I NEED YOUR TRUST AND SUPPORT
I am techinical consultant,tony maxwell by name, I have a client .who made a fixed deposit of fund valued at USD$8,500,000.00 (Eight Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) with a depositing firm, here in Europe and unfortunately, He lost his life in the Libyan Civil War.
He left no person as next of kin, except some vital documents related to the deposit still in my possession.
Recently, the Depositing firm contacted me, asking for the next of kin to the funds/deposit or the amount may be declared as unclaimed.
Upon a clear and legitimate agreement with you, I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin, so that my late client's funds will not beconfiscated by the Financial Regulatory Authority.
You will be entitled to 40% of the total fund for your involvement.
Be informed that there is no risk involved as all necessary legal documents that will be used to back you up as the legal beneficiary and next of kin of my late client willbe procured.
Kindly, get in touch with me by my e-mail (email@example.com) For more detail if your interested.