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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: (sent from abused email account)
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2011 20:01:45 -0700
Subject: Business Greetings... Asap
I have a business proposition for you which involve $15,500,000 dollars. I
need you assistance with Investment of this funds and I will be willing to
offer you 30% of my $15,500,000 dollars for your help. I will also offer
you a % of the interest made on the investment.
This is a legal transaction and the funds are legally mine. Can I trust
you to help me handle these funds?
If interested, please send me an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
When I hear from you, I will give you my full name and details and also
give you more information about this transaction. Please have in mind that
this is a legitimate transaction.