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:
- 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:
- "with your full names" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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.
- email@example.com (Yahoo, Hong Kong; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "LING BOYOUNG" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2010 15:53:47 +0100
Subject: I AWAIT YOUR RESPONSE
I need your services in a confidential matter regarding money out of a
beneficiary deposit for investment in your country as such I decided to
establish contact with you for assistance. This requires a private
arrangement, as you will receive these funds under legal claims; all legal
documents will be carefully worked out to ensure a risky free claim.
I am willing to share the funds 50/50 as soon as this transaction is
completed. I have all the details, which I would provide with your
corresponding email. The funds in question amounts to about $30 million
United States dollars. I will expect a straight answer from you. Yes or
No. If yes, Kindly furnish me with your full names and telephone/fax
Please Send me an e-mail as soon as you receive this letter for further
discussion and more clarification. My personal email is :