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:
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found 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: "APPROVED & VERIFIED PAYMENTS" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 18 Oct 2019 10:18:10 +0200
Subject: Re; Your Payment is Ready - Reply Asap
Your Payment is Ready, Your Urgent Attention Required Asap:
This is to inform you that your long awaited and overdue Payment and Compensation have been Verified and Ready for instant payment to you upon your response. The US and UK Treasuries in conjunction with various designated Banks, Finance and Loan Companies Worldwide (where these funds are) and heads of US, UK, European Union Governments, Russia, China Governments and South East Asian Governments including the governments of Australian and New Zealand met and agreed that all these funds whose beneficiary details are verified and confirmed should be processed and the various payments as confirmed should be released to the beneficiaries ASAP with 5 working/banking days. This is the reason why we contacted you because your name is among these lists of beneficiaries who are yet to receive their payments. This payment is among the list of payments listed as unpaid and unclaimed funds either abandoned at various airport vaults as undelivered consignments or at various bank accounts.
These fund are listed as Contract Funds, Inheritance Funds, Investment Funds and Lottery/Lotto Funds which have not be paid nor claimed by the respective beneficiaries and the Authorities have approved the immediate payments of all these funds after proper verification of the details of the respective beneficiaries. This payment however will be at NO COST to you. You are required to urgently send us your details for proper official verification of your details for your immediate payment release. This is to ensure we are in contact with the legitimate and actual beneficiary of these funds and to avoid releasing the payments wrongly to unauthorized person.
Please do send the following details ASAP:
1. Your Full Names
2. Contact Address
3. Personal Mobile/Cell Phone Number/Fax
4. Date of Birth
Send your above personal details to the Payment Processing & Release Unit on:
These details are required Asap for the immediate verification and release of your payment to you.
Reply urgently and ensure you send in your details for verification and payment.
Unclaimed Funds Payments Committee
Federal Reserve Bank
Washington DC USA