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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a "New Partner from Paraguay" 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: "Dr.Mark Adams" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2011 19:12:53 +0100
Subject: I'M HAPPY TO INFORM YOU
I'M HAPPY TO INFORM YOU ABOUT MY SUCCESS IN GETTING THE FUND TRANSFERRED TO A SWISS ACCOUNT WITH THE CO-OPERATION OF A NEW PARTNER FROM PARAGUAY WHO IS AN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS
MAN. PRESENTLY I'M IN PARAGUAY FOR INVESTMENT PROJECTS WITH MY OWN SHARE OF THE TOTAL SUM. MEANWHILE, I DID NOT FORGET YOUR PAST EFFORTS AND ATTEMPTS TO ASSIST ME IN
TRANSFERRING THOSE FUNDS DESPITE THAT IT FAILED US SOME HOW. SO I HAVE GIVEN MY SECRETARY INSTRUCTION ON HOW YOU ARE TO RECEIVE A DEBI CARD/ATM WHICH CONTAINS THE SUM OF
$850.000.00 (EIGHT HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND US DOLLARS) ON YOUR NAME WHICH I HAVE USED AS A COMPENSATION FOR YOUR PAST EFFORT.
NOW CONTACT MY SECRETARY HER CONTACT IS:
NAME: MRS. SHERRY MORGAN
ASK HER ON HOW YOU ARE TO RECEIVE THE TOTAL $850.000.00 DEBIT CARD/ATM (EIGHT HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND US DOLLARS) WHICH I KEPT FOR YOUR COMPENSATION FOR ALL THE PAST EFFORTS
AND ATTEMPTS TO ASSIST ME IN THIS MATTER. I APPRECIATED YOUR EFFORTS AT THAT TIME VERY MUCH. SO FEEL FREE AND GET IN TOUCHED WITH MY SECRETARY MRS. SHERRY MORGAN ASK HER TO GIVE
YOU THE CONTACT INFORMATION OF THE BANK THAT YOU ARE TO CONTACT AS I HAVE ALREADY INSTRUCTED HER TO DO SO, SO THAT YOU CAN LET THE BANK KNOW WHERE TO SEND YOUR ATM/DEBIT CARD
THAT CONTAINS THIS SUM OF $850.000.00 TO YOU. PLEASE DO LET ME KNOW IMMEDIATELY YOU RECEIVE IT SO THAT WE CAN SHARE THE JOY AFTER ALL THE LONG SUFFERING AT THAT TIME. IN THE
MOMENT I AM VERY BUSY HERE IN PARAGUAY BECAUSE OF THE INVESTMENT PROJECTS WHICH I AND MY NEW PARTNER ARE HAVING AT HAND.
FINALLY, REMEMBER THAT I HAVE ALREADY FORWARDED AN INSTRUCTION TO MY SECRETARY ON YOUR BEHALF FOR YOU TO RECEIVE YOUR ATM/DEBIT CARD CONTAINING THIS SUM OF $850.000.00, SO FEEL
FREE TO GET IN TOUCH WITH MY SECTARY MRS. SHERRY MORGAN AND SHE WILL GIVE YOU THE CONTACT INFORMATION OF THE BANK YO ARE TO CONTACT.