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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr Mou Xinsheng" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 2010 22:18:19 +0100
Subject: Good Morning from China
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.
In my years of government service as Narcotics Control Commission and General Administration of Customs, I received kick backs from smugglers and business people seeking favors from me and during this process, I diverted funds to the tune of Thirty million United States dollars for safe keeping abroad because as public officer my bank accounts are monitored here in China .
I want to use Sixty Percent of the money for charity to help orphanage Children suffering (You will spare head this project and my name will not be mentioned).You will receive Twenty Percent as your commission and I will take the remaining Twenty Percent as my share as I intend to settle with outside China after we complete this process.
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 address:email@example.com