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)
- "on indication of your willingness to handle this transaction" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "i would like to apply through this medium for your co-operation" (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 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: MARGARET ALLEN <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2010 14:50:30 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: From Mrs Margaret Allen/Joint Investment
Mrs. Margaret Allen,
Liberte Sicap,Dakar Senegal.
numbers: 00221-77 6477314.
Private Email ( email@example.com)
Compliment of the day, I would like to apply through this
medium for your co-operation and to secure an opportunity to invest and do joint
business with you and my family in your country. If you can handle long time
business investment jointly with me and my children in your country.
honorably intend to invest in your country into a very lucrative business
venture of which you are to advise and execute the said venture over there for
the mutual benefits of both of us. Your able co-operation is to become my
business partner in your country and create ideas on how money will be invested,
properly managed and the type of investment after the money is transferred to
your account with your assistance.
Meanwhile, on indication of your
willingness to handle this transaction sincerely by protecting our interests and
upon your acceptance of this proposal, I would furnish you with the full
detailed information, procedure and amount involve. I shall be glad to reserve
this respect and opportunity for you, if you so desire, but do urge you to give
the matter your immediate attention it deserves.
Looking forward to your
response, you can equally call or email me with my private email or above phone
number for easy communication.
Mrs Margaret Allen and Son David