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:
- ",000,000" (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.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Kimo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "DONALD LAWSON DONATION"<email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 23 May 2013 11:24:11 -0600
Subject: DONATION FROM DONALD LAWSON FOUNDATION!!! CONGRATULATIONS <<<
Greetings.... I am Mr Donald Lawson, of Lapeer, MI 48446 USA. I won $337 million in the Powerball Millions Lottery as introduced on Friday August 17th 2012 by Michigan Lottery Officials.
Please share in my joy and verify this by visiting: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/31/13591150-winner-of-337-million-powerball-jackpot-revealed-in-michigan?lite
It is a thing of joy for us; Hence the need to disburse fraction of our winnings; to Good spirited individuals, Churches, Orphanages and Charities.
Under Individual category; Your email address amongst other (4) Lucky ones was submitted to receive grant of $1,000,000 USD from us. This was certified after careful balloting by Microsoft Data Base Email And Google Management Team.
Please provide your data (Detailed information) below to enable us certify a Bank Draft in your name to your operational bank account.
Scan copy of identification:
For claims, forward above details via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lapeer, MI 48446 USA.