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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Aisha Sheldon" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2011 11:03:49 +0100
Subject: Hello from Anita
How was your night over there in your country and the day,I believe you had a nice night and that the athmosphere over there in your country is very nice today? Mine was a little bit warm over here in Asylum camp in Nigeria. My name is Anita Sheldon and i will love to know you more.I am 21yrs but i want you to know that age does not matter in a relationship so i am confortable with your age.I am the only one alive now and I have been living under a Revrend father's care with his family.
I am contacting you in regards to a business transfer of a large sum of money from my late fathers account.I do like to inform you that this proposal is completely risk free. The money in question I want to transfer into your bank account is my inheritance from my late father. It is legally acquired money so there is nothing wrong about it. I am compelled to even trust someone that I do not know because I do not have any choice.Though I know that a transaction of this magnitude will make any one apprehensive and worried, but I am assuring you that everything is legal and all will be well at the end ofthe day. I honestly need your assistance to transfer 4.5 Million Dollars from my Late Fathers account and i will give you more information about it in my next mail.
I would like to know more about you.Your likes and dislikes,yourhobbies and what you are doingpresently.I will tell you more about myself in my next mail.Attached hereis my picture.Please kindly contact me only on my personal email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hoping to hear from you soonest