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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "a security company " (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 ever send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally. )
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
- 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: (sent from abused email account)
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2008 15:07:59 GMT
Subject: CHARITY PROJECT
Dear Friend writes from Mrs.sandra westley ,I am married to Engineer David westley an Englishman who is dead.When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of 3 Million GBP a security company here in UK. My Doctor told me that I have some day to live.due to the cancerous problems.And now i have decided to donate the funds to you as a gift from my husbands effort to fund the upkeep of widows,widowers,orphans,destitute.God bless you.contact me viaemail(firstname.lastname@example.org)