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:
- "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)
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Mellisa Lewis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 4 Apr 2010 05:55:25 +0700
God Bless You, My name is Mrs. Mellisa Lewis . I am 69 years old and Iwas
diagnosed for cancer for about 2 years ago. I will be going in foran operation
later today.I decided to WILL/donate the sum of(Three million dollars)to you
for the good work of the lord.Contact my lawyer with this email: Name: Barr
Martins Carlo Email:( email@example.com ) Tell him that I have WILLED
3M to you by quoting my personal reference number
and I have also notified him that I am WILLING that amount toyou.God Bless
RegardsMrs. Mellisa Lewis