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 us 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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Nikolai Bondaruk" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 10 Apr 2010 07:08:03 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Mi querido amigo
Mi querido amigo
I am Mr. Nikolai Bondaruk, at present I am suffering from throat cancer
and have a hole in the heart. My attending medical practitioner has just
informed me that my days are counted because of my degraded health.
My matrimonial situation is such as I do not have a wife and even less
children to whom I could bequeath my heritage. It is because of this I
would like gracious and with the aim of help stripped to give you this
known as heritage rising to a value of $9.5 million US dollars for you
to use it to help the orphans, victims of war, HIV/Aids, and expand the
work of God in your country, after receiving the fund you shall have 10%
for yourself and 5% to cove any expenses you will incur during the
transfer of this fund to you in your country and the remaining 85% be for
the said project.
As you can see this is a very hard to take but I have no option than to
will out this deposit before my major operation in few days from now
therefore I would like you to think about it very well and forward to me
your complete data, full name, address, age, occupation and telephone
I count on your goodwill and especially the good use of these funds for
God bless you and your family.
Yours brother in the lord,
Mr. Nikolai Bondaruk.