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.
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
Fraud email example:
From: "Hill Colin Neil Esq" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2011 18:36:10 +0200 (EET)
Subject: Urgent Proposal
You do not know me and neither do I know you. I am not desperate nor in
need have help. I only want to be sure you are the kind of person I can
trust with the following proposal.
I have been very careful in my selection and have taken pains to ensure I
will be dealing with a person that has the intelligence to understand what
I am getting myself into. From the little I have been able to deduce, I
cannot make you agree to partner with me on this but I can assume that
when you are in, I can trust you completely.
I am a UK based lawyer and I am bringing everything I have to the table;
my reputation and all I have labored for my whole life. The least I ask of
you, is for you, after hearing the proposal to honestly tell me if you are
up for it or not, without acting maliciously. That way, I get to loose
nothing and can walk away with my proposal and reputation intact without
actually divulging full details.
I bear the full brunt of any risk involved in this business which I cannot
do alone and you can be rest assured that you will be duly compensated
financially for your involvement. The thing is, anyone can serve but I
chose you. I pray you don't let me down. For more details if interested by
The fact of the proposal involves access to millions of Tax-Free United
States Dollars. It is up to you to accept or decline. I am waiting to hear
from you. Time is of the essence.
Hill Colin Neil Esq