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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "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: "Mr Thomas Holmes" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 23 Jul 2011 21:20:05 -0000
Subject: Get Back to me
I am Mr Thomas Holmes Dempster I need your services in a confidential matter regarding money transfer. This requires a private arrangement though the details of the transaction will be furnish to you if you indicate your interest in this proposal. I have all the legal documents to back up the transaction, besides I have worked out the modalities to ensure smooth and risky free transfer.
I am willing to offer you 40% of the money, the fund in question is
All correspondences will be via email and telephone for now. I am
expecting to hear from you, if you are willing to do the business with
me, your private phone number and your full names are needed for
Please let me hear from you immediately only in my private email box:firstname.lastname@example.org