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:
- "i want to solicit your attention" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million 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.
- 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 (I12; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mou Xinsheng" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 21 Dec 2009 13:21:02 -0800
Subject: For Your Perusal!!!
Let me introduce myself,my name is Mou Xinsheng (Minister of General
Administration of Customs of the Peoples Republic of China).I have a secured
business proposal for you,which i believe will be beneficial to both of us i
want to solicit your attention.The purpose of my contacting you is because you
live outside China.
Actually i got your contact during my discreet search for a
reliable,successfull,business oriented partner.I feel it would be huge surprise
for you to receive such email from a serving minister of the People?s Republic
of China.I will give you more information about myself and the business.My name
is Mou Xinsheng (Minister of General Administration of Customs of the
PeoplesRepublic of China). Forgive me if you see my business proposal as
shameful and not honorable because of my governmental status. But please excuse
me and understand that this is the situation I am and must find a credible
partner outside China.In my years of government service as Narcotics Control
Commission and General Administration of Customs, I have received kick backs
from smugglers and business people seeking favors from me and as a public
officer my bank accounts are monitored hence I diverted the funds Thirty
million United States dollars for safe keeping abroad. I want you to receive
the money which has been in deposit since the last Two years. When the money is
reply to me soon.It will certainly do you no good to report me to my
government authorities or divulge this information to anybody because doing so
will only destroy my person and my career.
If you are interested in my proposal,please contact me on my private email
I will send you more information about myself and this proposal.