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.
- 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:
- "account in your country or any safer place" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",000,000" (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 orphan 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: Austine Konan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 2 Jul 2010 00:38:21 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: From Mrs. Austine Konan
>From Mrs. Austine Konan
16,Rue des jardins Cocody
Abidjan Ivory Coast
I am Mrs. Austine Konan from Ivory Coast I am a widow being that I lost my
husband.My husband was a serving director of the Cocoa exporting board
until his death.
He was assassinated by the rebels following the political uprising. Before
his death he made a deposit of Ten Million USA Dollars ($10,000,000.00)here
in Ivory Coast in security company .This fund he intended to buy a cocoa
I want you to help me for us to retrieve this fund and transfer it to your
account in your country or any safer place as you will be the beneficiary
and recipient of the fund .
I have plans to do investment in your country, like real estate and
industrial production. This is my reason for writing to you. Please if you
are willing to assist me and my only son Francis,indicate your interest in
Please if truly you want to assist me and my son kindly respond to my
privet email address: email@example.com
Thanks and best regards .