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:
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- 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: "Mrs.Isabella Caromel" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 2011 08:44:18 +0200
Subject: YOU NEED TO DO THIS
Private Message to you,
The lord spoke to me to share this with you. Please kindly sympathize with my current situation and assist. My name is Isabella Carmel, I escaped tsunami disaster some time ago which affected my spinal cord, my ear drum and claim my entire family, husband and two sons as we both went for holidays in Sri-Lanka.
Right now I am out of the hospital after spending much days, and it might be a shock to you to know that I was eventually disabled due to the catastrophe that stroke me and now I am on a wheelchair after all form of treatment. I have decided to give arms to the needing in the societies. I want this to be a legacy laid down by me on earth therefore I decided to build charity organizations for the less privilege now that my health has deteriorated so badly. I cannot do it personally due to my ailment that is while am soliciting your kind assistant to make this dream a reality through you. I have intend to donate the sum of $10.6M USD I deposited in (OVERSEA CREDIT COMMISSION) for investment abroad to help the less privileged. I need you to help me claim these funds where it was deposited to build charity organizations for the less privilege in the society.
Please I will appreciate if you indicate interest to help actualize this dream and also include your contact telephone/fax numbers that I will forward to the (COMMISSION OFFICIALS) for onward communication with you as my appointed beneficiary. I will provide you the legal documents that will enable you claim the funds.
If you are willing and ready to assist in this project, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org without delay, while I wait to hear from you.
Thanks once again for your kindness may God guide and reward you in all your endeavors as you make me realize my last dreams and wishes.
Mrs. Isabella Caromel