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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "million united states 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)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mohamed" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2011 11:55:18 +0530
I am Mohamed All. A security officer to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
I want you to help me in receiving a parcel containing $45Million (Forty Five Million United States Dollars) in cash.
Due to the recent crisis here in Libya, i decided to smuggle the money out of a save to send it outside Libya.
Please if you can do this deal with me in trust and one mind, please send your full name, mobile phone number and direct contact address.
I will send my friend to come to any country you are to deliver the parcel to you as a special gift and it must be confidential for security reasons.
After the crisis in Libya, i will come to your country to share the money with you which i will give you 30% of the total sum. My friend will stay with you in your country after delivering the parcel to you until the end of the crisis here in Libya. Please i beg you to take good care of him.
Please if you are interested, contact me immediately! On my email: firstname.lastname@example.org