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:
- "fiduciary agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "processing fee" (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. )
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- 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: Secretary General UN <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2019 03:15:55 +0800
Subject: Good News!!!!!!!!! 9/10/2019
United Nations Headquarters
760 United Nations Plaza,
New York 10017, U.S.A
It has come to my knowledge that the over-due
contract/Inheritance/Winning sum,of some of our beneficiaries, which
unfortunately includes YOU,that had been placed on HOLD by the United
State Government due to lack of proper documentations,
will be released to you within 24hrs from now. This unfortunate delay
occurred due to the exit of former Secretary General of
the United Nation Ban Ki-moon,US Treasury Secretary Jacob Joseph "Jack"
Lew and the sudden exit of the former FBI director
The fund in the value of $5,352.000.00 will be ready to transfer from
the Federal Reserve Bank, as soon as you pay the re-processing fee of
$187.00 only through our fiduciary agent,John Garza.Agent John Garza
will get the duty fee certified and paid on your behalf at the IRS
office and then the Federal Reserve Bank will be authorized to transfer
the fund to your Bank Account.
In the lieu of this, it is imperative that you give a response to this
email,kindly providing your bank account details for a bank wire
transfer from the Federal Reserve Bank New-York.Also,if for ease of
access,you wish for an electronic card payment instead,it can be
processed and delivered to you.
The following information are required and adviced to be sent through
our secured email servers.
MOBILE/HOME TELEPHONE Number.
Note: You are to Send your response via email to my secure email
You are also adviced to place a Call to the above dedicacted mobile
number,as soon as you get this email.
Secretary General UN