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:
- "may come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "keep it confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "email@example.com" (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: "Aisha Gaddafi" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 24 Apr 2011 07:43:14 +0100
Subject: I NEED YOUR HELP
This message may come to you as a surprise I am contacting you because of the problem we are having in my country Libya which the problem is getting more tough
everyday I am. Aisha Gaddafi the daughter of Muammar Gaddafi the president of Libya I am right now in west Africa I have some hug amount of money which I need a foreign
partner to invest if you are interested to assist me on this transaction which I will compensate you get back to me for more detail and also keep it confidential reply
me on this email: firstname.lastname@example.org
send me your full name, address, telephone number including your occupation