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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "JENNIFER MOOREY"<email@example.com> (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2011 15:22:11 -0000
My Dear Friend,
My name is jennifer moorey, who is diagnosed with oesophageal cancer. To cut the long story short, I have few hours left to live, depending on my surgery which will take place soon. Although I am rich, but it doesnt matter anymore.
I want God to be merciful to me and accept my soul and so with that reason I decided to give what I have to charity and I never had children. I want this to be one of the last good deed on earth. I now give you the authority to dispatch my last funds to any charity of your choice.
I have Six million dollars in a financial institution. I want you to keep fifty percent of this amount for yourself and time, while you keep the other fifty percent to any charity of your choice. May God be with you as you carry out this task.I believe with this,
I can now be free to depart peacefully. You can then contact my lawyer who will assist you in getting the funds to you when I pass. He would give you more details. His name is Richard Wetton, and his email address ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) He would guide you through receiving the funds.
Lot of Love