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:
- ",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)
- "keep this confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "united state of america" (this email uses bad English)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- 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 (Yahoo, Hong Kong; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Christy Walton" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2011 08:13:02 +0900 (JST)
Subject: your assistance is needed
Greeting to you my dear Brothers and Sisters the good people of this
planet earth I am writing you this e-mail not to disturb you but to ask
for your assistant based on my personality and my present condition in
life and in particular what I intend doing for CHARITY.
I am Mrs. Christy Walton the 2nd Richest Woman in the world am a great
citizen of United State of America, I bring to you a proposal which I want
you to assist me with, I worth $ 22.5 billion Dollars which rated me as
the 2nd Richest Woman in the World.
As the going says Money is not everything on earth, its painful now to let
the world know my present condition as a cry for help. I have been
suffering from a Heart disease for the passed 22 years. Just few weeks ago
my Doctors in America just told me that is time for me to die, and my Will
been with my Lawyer which my Family is awear of, but nobody is awear about
the 40% of my Bank Worth which is $9,000,000,000 (Nine Billion United
I intend to give it to CHARITY because I have not seen anybody from my
Family, Relations and Friends which I trust to help me out. I have always
had this DREAM to help CHARITY and I have always promise myself that I
must do this very big at my end time to CHARITY, can I please trust you to
help me give to CHARITY this heave amount of Money because I have just 2
Months left to die, as I write to you now am full of Tears as I await my
Please reply me back with your below details to enable us proceed further
and please keep this confidential.
God Bless You.
Mrs. Christy Walton