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:
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: vivian nna <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 9 Jan 2010 16:53:58 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: From : Miss.vivian nna alex
>From : Miss.vivian nna alex
Abidjan, Ivory Coast .
My name is Miss. vivian nna alex. I wish to request for your assistance in my efforts to procure the transfer of my inherited fund for investment in your country. I have inherited Ten Million Five hundred thousand United States Dollars ($10,500,000.00) in my name with one of the prime banks here and I will require your assistance in receiving the transfer of the funds in your local bank account for investment purposes. As it is my desire to come over to your country to further my education while you take good care of the investment of my money. I will be glad to give you 15% of the total sum for your co-operation and assistance. I will be very appreciative if you can return to me with urgent dispatch to enable me introduce you to the bank and give you my late father's account details . write me at I await in anticipation to receive your immediate response. Miss. vivian nna alex .