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:
- "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)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.Susan Amson" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 7 Mar 2011 18:01:03 +0500
Subject: ACCEPT IN GOOD FAITH
This Email might surprise you ,don't ignore as I am writing this letter to
you with heavy tears In my eyes and great sorrow in my heart because my
Doctor told me that I will die in three months time. Base on this
development I want to will my money which is deposited in a finance
security company I am in search of a reliable person who will use the
Money to build charity
organization for the saints and the person will take 40% of the total sum.
While 60% of the money will go to charity organization and helping the
orphanage. I grew up as an Orphan and i don't have anybody/family member to
take care of my wealth.
The total money in question is $5.6million dollars. I will provide you with
other informational and deposit certificate once you indicate your
Hoping to hear from you soon.