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:
- "million 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)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Frank Lopez" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 2010 20:47:06 +0200
Subject: Frank Lopez Office
Dear Sir/ Madam.
I send you greetings. We have found your contact email address listed on an Internet Business Directory and it is
my wish to do business with you, hence your receipt of this letter.
We are brokering an Investment deal in your country on behalf of a client. This deal will involve the eventual
investment of USD25M. (Twenty Five Million Dollars) in your country.
We are by this letter offering you our partnership, so as to allow us have you as representative and manager of
invested funds in your country within the time frame of the investment/partnership scheme.
We have kept this proposal brief, if you are Interested in this offer of partnership, please respond to this email as
stated email: email@example.com and give us your full contact details plus company profile,and in response we will send you an elaborate proposal and
details of this offer.