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:
- "my names are " (a common phrase found 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: "Ms Okoh Sophia" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 29 Jan 2010 11:27:23 +0100
Your contact came to me through a friend who works
in the embassy of my country. But I was careful not
to reveal to him why I needed a competent
foreign link in the person of your respected self.
To introduce myself, my names are Ms Okoh Sophia,
an Accountant with FIRST CITY MONUMENT BANK NIGERIA.
I'm writing following an opportunity in my office that
will be of great benefit to us. Valued at 8,472,000.00
US Dollars. We will share in the Ratio of 50/50% at the
end of this deal. All I require is your honest
I'll send you details of this proposal including my
Photos and ID card for you to know me better, as soon
as I hear from you.
For more information contact me with you details as below
Please, I'll like you to contact me through my alternative
email address for security reason at; firstname.lastname@example.org