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)
- "chambers" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- 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 (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Mr and Mrs Allen Large <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 29 Jan 2011 20:54:33 +0100
Subject: Can you handle this =?UTF-8?Q?donation=3F?=
This is Allen and Violet Large i and my wife are winner of Atlantic
Lottery in 2010,and from our winning funds of $11.3 Million Dollars we have
a donation of $1.5 Million Dollars to support churches, fire departments,
Cemeteries and the Red Cross. Please feel free to reimburse yourself with
20% of the funds. I want to let you know that we have checked through your
country chambers of commerce and we have found out that you are a good
person and can handle the money for its purpose.
Please reply us via our personal address email@example.com if
you can handle this project.
Please view the link below for more information about us:
Mr.& Mrs. Large