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:
- "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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Hull Foster" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2011 19:00:29 +0800
Subject: Hello dear,
Good day dear,
It might appear surprising receiving my mail in this medium, but i have to start by introducing myself to you,i am Hull Foster,a merchant in Dubai,Arab Emirate.I have been diagnosed with Cancer which was discovered very late,due to my laxity in caring for my health.It has defiled all forms of medicine,Right now I have only about a few months to live,according to my Medical Doctor.
I have not particularly lived my life so well,as I never really cared for myself but the oil business.Though I am very rich,I was never generous,I only focused on my business as that was the only thing I cared for. But now I regret all this as I now know that there is more to life than just wanting to have or make all the money in the world.I believe when God gives me a second chance and heal me I would live my life a different way from how I have lived it.I have sowed a seed for my healing I have willed and given most of my properties and assets to my immediate and extended family members and as well as a few close friends.
I want God to be merciful to me and accept my soul and so,I have decided to give arms to charity organizations and give succor and comfort to the less privileged of the eath qake victim of Haiti and Tsunamin with the Hurricane victims,as I want this to be one of the last good deeds I do on earth.So far,I have distributed money to some charity organizations in India and Malaysia. Now that my health has deteriorated so badly,I cannot do this my self anymore.
I once asked members of my family to close one of my accounts in Saudi Bank and distribute the money which I have there to charity organization and to the less privileged in Bulgaria and Sudan Africa, They cashed the money but kept it only to themselves.Hence,I do not trust them anymore,as they seem not to be contended with what I have left for them already.
The last of my money which no one knows of is the huge cash deposit of twenty two million dollars that I have in the Vault of a Financial company for safe keeping.I want you to collect this deposit on my behalf and disburse it to the Haiti and Tsunami Earth Quake victims in Asia and the Huricane victim in America for the less privileged.
I will set aside 20% for you for your time and efforts. I need your urgent reply so that I will not have to go on sourcing for another credible person to handle this project.If you are okay with the condition,do not hesitate to send me mail (email@example.com} so that i can furnish you up with all the information needed. I wish to hear from you soon. God bless you.