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.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "PowerBall Lottery" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2016 20:19:07 +0200
Subject: THANKSGIVING PERSONAL DONATION OF $429,600 USD FROM THE SMITH FAMILY, THE RECENT WINNER OF OUR $429.6 MILLION JACKPOT LOTTERY.
First of, Thanksgiving is a great time to be thankful and appreciate who you have and what you have. It is a time for families to meet, socialize and enjoy each other's company, sometimes the only opportunity in a year. Some prefer it to Christmas because of less emphasis on consumerism. In light of this, the recent winner of our Jackpot Lottery has deem it necessary to donate the sum of $429,600 USD each to you and Ninety Nine other lucky beneficiaries, in fulfillment of giving out 10% of their winnings as Thanksgiving donation gift. Mind you, this is not a regular circulation, contact the family's spokesperson and oldest of the children Valerie Arthur Smith via: email@example.com for more information about this donation and for confirmation of this great news, click the link below;
The PowerBall Donation Announcer.
For The Smith Family.