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:
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: joanath habuk <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2010 03:15:55 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Dear Good Friend in Christ Jesus.
Greetings of peace to you, I am Mrs. Joanath Habuk Alean a devoted Christian and now ageing widow suffering from long time illness. I have a blood cancer and right now I am admitted in a hospital here at Abidjan Cote Dâivoire. I have some inherited fund from my late loving husband late Mr Habuk Alean The amount of US$22.500, 000.00 which he deposited with Bank here and I need a good honest God fearing person who can use these funds for God's work in charity.
I want this fund to go for charity because I have no child to be the inheritor, 15% out of the total fund will be for your compensation for doing this work of God. I found your email address from the internet and decide to contact you. Please if you would be able to use this fund for
ekene chikeze: the glory of God kindly reply me.
Your Sister In The Lord.Email:email@example.com
Mrs. Joanath Habuk Alean.