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:
- "hundred thousand 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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.Henan Mussalem"<email@example.com> (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 9 May 2012 19:07:15 +0800
Subject: Urgent and Important
I am Mrs.Henan Mussalem a Libyan citizen, I am the wife of late Mohammad Mussalem, my late husband was a politician during the Colonel Gaddafi regime and was killed by the rabels during the revolutionary. I do foresee the surprise this letter might bring to you as ies from a total stranger, but be rest assured as it comes with best of intentions. I and my family are going through a tough time here at the moment, I use have four children, three boys and a daughter but unfortunately I have lost a son during the revolutionary war last year. He was only three year old when he was decapitated in front of I and my family because they were seeking information I didn't have. At the moment I am under house arrest along with my family but I have a business proposal worth Seventeen Million Five hundred thousand United States dollars, I have thought to start a new life with my family in your country please do contact me here:, for more details on how we can proceed. I will look forward
to hear from you soon.