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:
- "i would like to apply through this medium for your co-operation" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "liberia" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "MRS.ELIZBETH COOPER" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 9 Jan 2010 15:25:07 -0000
Subject: From: Mrs. Elizabeth Cooper and Family,
From: Mrs. Elizabeth Cooper and Family,
East Legion , Accra Ghana
I know you will be surprise to receive this mail from me as we do not know each other nevertheless. I am Mrs. Elizabeth Cooper from Liberia presently residing in Accra Ghana.
I would like to apply through this medium for your co-operation to secure an opportunity to invest and to go into joint business partnership with you.
I have a substantial capital I honorably intend to invest jointly with you into a lucrative business venture based on your advice and directive.
The essence of this mail is to open up communication with you to enable us know each other as regards to our plan to invest our money judiciously with you.
Please feel free to email me for further clarification on my intention to partner with you.
God bless you as I will be looking forward to hear from you urgently.
>From Mrs. Elizabeth Cooper.