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:
- "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)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mike Gregg."<email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 03 Mar 2020 13:48:17 +0100
Subject: Nice to meet you,
Hello Good Day
My name is Mr. Mike Gregg, the auditor general of Royal Bank of Scotland. During our 2nd quarter of the year audit which ended on Tuesday, 12th November 2019, I stumbled on a dormant account and after my investigations, I discovered that the account with deposit of 9,800,000.00GBP belong to Mr. Kenneth Lay, founder/CEO and Chairman of Enron who died on the 5th July 2006.On the course of my investigations, I discovered that the account has no next of kin and till date, nobody has come forward to claim the funds.
The account has been dormant since then 2006 till now. I want us to jointly claim the funds. I will work out the documents to present you as the legitimate beneficiary. Get back to me for more details if you are interested to partner with me.
Thanks and remain blessed.
Mr. Mike Gregg.