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)
- This email message is a "dying merchant" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr Adada" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 2010 22:41:02 -0700
Subject: CHARITY WORK
I am Mr. Adada an Oil merchant in Iraq; i have been diagnosed with esophageal cancer.
It has defied all forms of medical treatment, and right now I have only about a few months
to live, according to medical experts, just recently my doctor inform me i have a few weeks
to live due to the esophageal cancer. I have not particularly lived my life so well, as I never
really cared for anyone (not even myself) but my business. Though I am very rich, I was never
generous, I was always hostile to people and only focused on my business as that was the only
thing I cared for. But now I regret all this as I now know that there is more to life than just wanting
to have or make all the money in the world. I have decided to give alms to charity organizations,
as I want this to be one of the last good deeds I do on earth. The last of my money which no one
knows of is the huge cash deposit of fifteen million dollars $15, 000, 000,00 that I have with a
finance/Security Company abroad. I will want you to help me collect this deposit and dispatched it
to charity organizations. It may interest you to know that i once asked members of my family to close
one of my accounts and distribute the money which I have there to charity organization; they refused
and kept the money to themselves. Hence, I do not trust them anymore, as they seem not to be contended
with what I have left for them.
I have set aside 10% for you and for your time.
God be with you.