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:
- "transfer into your account" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "FBI DIRECTOR" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 23 Jul 2020 00:47:27 +0200
Subject: You have Pending Transfer Value of USD10.5M in your name
FBI HEADQUARTERS IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
MONETARY CRIMES DIVISION
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
FBI National Press Office , D.C. 20535-0001
U. S. Department of Justice F.B.I
You have Pending Transfer Value of USD10.5M in your name is waiting for certification before it can transfer into your account.
FBI need Fund Identification Record Certificate of the transfer and Funds Ownership certificate in your name, in case you do not have the documents in your possession, contact us back to direct you where you will obtain them, this is the only thing you are to provide in order to receive the payment of USD10.5M into your bank account.
Your earliest response will be of a great advantage to you!
Christopher A. Wray