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:
- "million 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)
- 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.
- email@example.com (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Steven Duke, Director world debt reconciliation agency"
Date: Thu, 16 Apr 2020 18:12:50 -0700
Subject: Your outstanding compensation fund $5.5Million transfer
Your email was found among the list of unpaid compensation fund which was originated from Americans, Europe, Asia, plus Middle East, among the list of individuals and companies.
You are among the beneficiaries who will receive a contractual sum of US5.5Million Dollars and it has been approved last month. you are required to contact director John Harrison, with your full name, home address and cell phone number for your fund release to you.
Director Name: Dr. John Harrison
Director Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I apologize to you on behalf of world debt reconciliation agencies for failure to pay your lotto funds in time which according to records in the system had been long overdue.
Director world debt reconciliation agency