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)
- This email message is a "dying merchant" scam.
- 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: "Mrs. Hewgley" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 2010 19:02:35 +0100
Dear Sir/Madam, I'm writing you from the GMC Specialist Hospital here in UK, where have been diagnosed and receiving treatments for Esophageal CANCER which has defiled all forms of medications due to it late detection. this deadly illness has made me been through a lot of pains I cant explain, after the last surgery and tests that Ive just been carried out, they discovered that some cells have been destroyed and some veins that connected the heart to the Kidney has been blocked and the medical experts confirmed its very dangerous and said I may have less than 2months to live now due to the illness deterioration stage.
My Dear Im contacting dear as Ive some SECRETS/CONFIDENTIALS facts to disclose to you before I die and I believe you will make it confidential also? i shall wait your urgent interest and response at my private email (email@example.com) as the internet is NOT safe enough for me to disclose this SECRETS.