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:
- "stay blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs Margaret Muzungu" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2011 14:02:26 +0200
Subject: Calvary Greetings My Beloved
Greetings from Calvary to you Im Mrs.Margaret.T.Muzungu, Quebec, Canadian
nationality, Widow to (Late Engr.Georges Muzungu.) A Congolese nationalist
and formerly (C.E.O) (ORYX GAS COMPANY) also (M.D) (United Textile Mills
Sarl) here in parakou, unfortunately he was poisoned to death on 17th of
Before my husbands died he made a substantial deposited amount which he
inherited from his late father a trader of Gold and Diamond, being the
only surviving son. And additional substantial amount only he held on
trust for a late Congolese president, was deposited in an offshore
The fund was proposed for a child Care project here or anywhere of your
choice hence you will be faithful. Presently i want you to help me to
finish this project in your country.
I was led to enquire from you with the hope that you will handle this
project well to the glory of God. Please let me get your opinion for
Here is my telephone number +2299982395