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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Zhang Hongxia" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 13 Dec 2009 04:55:04 +0700
Subject: Urgent reply
I Mr. Zhang Hongxia, an investor and a business merchant, CEO of Weiqiao Textile Company Limited, am seeking for your co-operation and devotion in building a company and Real Estate in your country. I apologize for any inconveniences if this is not your field of profession. How ever, I need an experienced personal to assist me to set up this project successfully.
I estimated the sum of $9,550,000.00 (nine Million five hundred and fifty United state America dollars) for this project, which I will transfer as soon as possible immediately our discussion is positive and sealed. On the resumption of this project, you will be a member of the governing board as Director of works and project Management.
You will also be entitled to a share percentage of 15% and more other benefits as we advance further, while 85% stands for the company. Your immediate reply will be highly appreciated and I shall give you more detailed information concerning this project. Please if you have any interest for this project; correspond to my office via my email address: email@example.com <http://firstname.lastname@example.org> or visit our: www.wqfz.com <http://www.wqfz.com/>
Right now I am presently in UK here is my contact number: +447513385090
Best regard,Mr. Zhang Hongxia