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:
- "await your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "John Chaplain" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2019 22:08:45 -0700
I am a banker by profession from London United Kingdom and currently holding the post of director Auditing and accounting unit of the bank.
I have the opportunity of transferring the left over Funds ($8,750,000.00 ) Eight Million Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars of one of my bank clients (Mr Halley) who died Along with his entire family in a plane crash.
All expenses incurred by you and me in this transaction will be deducted out from the 10% of the total fund before the sharing of the fund according to the percentages agreed.
Please I want you to understand that a stitch in time saves nine so write back and tell me if you really want to carry out this transaction with me.
I sincerely need your help because this might be my first and last opportunity of hitting big money. I also would want you to treat this affair as both urgent, top secret and confidential.
You can copy the website and past to confirm.
Await Your urgent response.