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:
- "million us 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. Joan Burstein" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2018 17:20:52 -0700
Subject: Email me back.
Hello my beloved, Life is gradually getting away from me due to my medical condition presently and my personal doctor told me I have few days left to live. In view this setback, I want to donate my property for humanitarian assistance, because this has always been the plan of my late husband and besides I do not have children. In order to complement the good work of humanitarian services and my desire to help less privileged children, I will donate a total of Nine Million US Dollars to you. On your acknowledgment of this email and telling me about your willingness to assist me on this project, my lawyer will facilitate due processes for transferring this heritage to you. Do assure me that you will use this money wisely on charitable work.
Mrs. Joan Burstein