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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "account opening" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "fiduciary agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: SUN TRUST BANK <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2021 12:56:32 -0700
Subject: FUND RELEASE ORDER
SunTrust Plaza, 303 Peachtree Street Northeast
Atlanta, GA 30308-3201
Phone Number +16017754400 Whatsapp.
YOU ARE HEREBY WARNED TO STOP ANY FURTHER COMMUNICATION WITH ANY BANK OR
OFFICE REGARDING THIS FUND FOR SAFETY REASONS.OR YOU WILL BE AT RISK.(Be
From the office of General Managing Director ONLINE ACCOUNT OPENING
Department (MR VINCENT NORTH ) This is to intimate and guide you, on
the approval of your payment worth over Five Million Five Hundred
Thousand United State Dollars (US$5.500,000.00) which was
approved/released in your name here last week by the FOREIGN AFFAIRS
department of SUN TRUST BANK.It is therefore our pleasure letting you
know that we have verified your contract/inheritance payment file and
discovered that your file was long overdue for payment since 2010, and
the reason you have not received your payment, is because your file was
dumped by one of our fiduciary agent in-charge of your file.And till
date, you have not been able to receive your contract/inheritance
To this end, all your efforts to secure the release of your fund failed.
We therefore wish to advise that you stop any illegal transaction with
any person(s) or office(s), regarding your contract/inheritance funds,
as continuing with them, to claim your contract/inheritance funds will
further frustrate and stop your payment claim.We have received an
express mandate and instructions from the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT to commence
the immediate release of your funds through our NEW ONLINE METHOD OF
TRANSFER which will enable you to transfer your fund to any destination
account of your choice.
Please reconfirm your information
1. Your full name.
2. Phone number.
3. Your Current Address.
4. Your age
6. Attach a copy of your id Card for identification.
Mr Vincent North.
Director Sun Trust Bank
Reply to this Email: email@example.com