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.
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Edwina O Obabunmi <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 9 Jan 2012 03:52:04 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Sad Trip (Help Needed)....... Edwina O Obabunmi
I'm e-mailing you from a free local library. Am sorry I didn't inform you about my traveling. My family and I came down here to Madrid, Spain for a short vacation, Unfortunately I was robbed at a gun point. All cash, credit card and cell phones were stolen from us. I was hit at the back of my neck with a pistol, Well I'm glad we are still alive and that's what's important.
I've been to the Embassy and the Police here but they're not helping issues at all and our flight leaves soon but we are having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel management won't let me leave until we settle the bills. I'm freaked out at the moment and wondering if you could help us with a quick loan, I promise I'll refund it once we get home.
Am freaked out at the moment and I really need your help.
Edwina O Obabunmi,