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 us 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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Wendy Norman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 10 Mar 2011 13:02:22 -0800 (PST)
My name is Mrs. Wendy Norman a cancer patient, I have decided to donate what I have to the charity works and orphanage homes and propagating the word of God with this benevolence through you, Hence my inability to communicate with this project more effectively as I am on sick bed which I can not walk unless by the help of my doctors and nurses, please keep this matter to yourself because this is a vow I made to God and I will like it to be between you and me to avoid anything that will hinder my vow,
the amount is [Five Million US Dollars] that is my inheritance from my late husband who was a successful cocoa business dealers, you may be wondering why I chose you but someone has to be chosen, I am 68 years old and was diagnosed cancer of the lungs about 2 years ago Immediately after the death of my husband who had left everything he worked for on my care, I will give you the full details as soon as I received your respond,
Mrs Wendy Norman