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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Mr peter wong <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2010 21:53:50 -0700 (PDT)
I am Mr.peter wong Executive Director of the Hang Seng Bank Ltd,
An Iraqi named farouk bassem,a business man made a numbered fixed
deposit for 12 calendar months, this is valued to Eight Million
United State Dollars only in my branch.
Upon maturity several notice was sent to him, even during the war,
four years ago(2006).Again after the war another notification was
sent and still no response came from him.
We later found out that farouk bassem and his family had been killed
during the war in a bomb blast that hit their home at Mukaradeeb.
After further investigation it was also discovered that farouk bassem
did not declare any next of kin in his official paper s including
the paper work of his bank deposit. My proposal is to put you as next of
kin and have the funds released to you for us to share 50/50 for your
Should you be interested in executing this with me; indicate your
interest by sending me Your response with your name,address,
occupation and phone number to reach me at my personal email address