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:
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (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: "Hazzan Gazal Trabelsi" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2011 03:11:40 +0800
My name is Hazzan Gazal Trabelsi, younger brother of Leila Trabelsi, the wife of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, former Tunisian president who was ousted by Tunisians recently. I am presently under house arrest in my Town House in Tunis because of the perceived corruption of the President's family. I was not a member of the government but now suffering persecutions because I am a relative of the President's wife and anyone seen as related to the President's family is presently under arrest.
I have contacted you because I have initiated assylum proceedings on the internet for Canada and I need someone on the outside I can trust to handle this and other matters for me as I do not know how long I am going to have internet access and there is no one I could trust in Tunisia anymore. All my assets in Tunisia and Europe have been seized but I was able to move some assets to China before my arrest.
I am willing to pay you a substantial amount of money for any assistance you render to me. I would appreciate any assistance you could render in this regard. Please indicate by return email if I can rely on you to keep this matter confidential.
Hazzan Gazal Trabelsi