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)
- "hundred thousand us 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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "David"<email@example.com> (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 28 May 2011 00:04:57 -0700
Subject: MUTUAL CO-OPERATION
I write to solicit your assistance in a project of mutual benefit and regret any inconveniences contacting you this way with my proposal. I am David ngobe, former Head of Accounts Department at the Diamond Mining Company of
I and my partners (two others) are in urgent need of a foreign associate to work with us to facilitate the transfer of a large sum of money which we intend to invest into profitable areas of business in your country. The money involved is eighteen million five hundred thousand US Dollars. However, as a result of the regulations here, we cannot transfer the funds to your country without having an associate there.
We propose your commission shall be 20 per cent of the total money been transferred, in view of the importance your role as our overseas partners will be, without which we cannot transfer the funds.
Please consider this proposal seriously and handle with utmost confidentiality the information I have provided you with here. If you are in a position to assist, then get back to me immediately, so I can give you more details.