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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
Date: Tue, 6 Oct 2020 20:29:37 +0700
I know that this email will come to you as a surprise, since we do not know each other in person nor had any previous correspondence. Please permit me to briefly introduce my self to you.
My name is Prof. Bakary YEO, a private investment banker with one of the leading banks here in Côte d'Ivoire.
My purpose of contacting you is to solicit your help to claim on a dormant account of a dead depositor without a traceable relative or next of kin from your country.
There is a sum of US$21.7 million dollars currently in a dormant account here in my bank. If nobody comes up for it by the end of this fiscal year 2020 ends, the bank is required by law to turn over the funds from the inactive account to the state treasury.
Please, kindly reply back ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) for further briefing relating to this proposition.
With kind regards
Prof Bakary Yeo Ph.D.