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.
- 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)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "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.
- 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: "BARR. JAMES CHUNG" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 7 Mar 2011 00:57:07 +0100 (CET)
I am Barr. James E. Chung, i was the personal lawyer to late Mr. Mark W. Chan
whom before his death was a company owner in Malaysia (Lowyat Engineering), Mr.
Mark Chan was a successful Business Man before he died. He made a Will in our
law firm stating that Three Million Dollars should be donated to any
Philanthropist of our choice. You were picked as the beneficiary to this Will.
I am particularly interested in securing this money from the Bank because they
have issued a notice instructing us to produce the beneficiary of this Will
within two weeks which happens to be you or else the money will be credited to
the Government treasury as per law here in Malaysia.It is my utmost desire to
execute the Will of our late client. You are required to contact me immediately
to start the process of transferring this money to any of your designated
Contact me immediately at (email@example.com) for more details bearing
in mind that the Bank has given us a date limit.