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:
- "huge amount of money" (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.
- 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: "CH LE" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 1 May 2011 13:04:54 -0300 (BRT)
Subject: BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY_URGENT
Dear business partner,
I am Mr. Chinh, ex-worker at SACOMBANK (VIETNAM), a business partner and
myself have a huge amount of money available for investment purposes and
your experience and business friendship is required to make it a success.
It is very important for you to contact me through Email:
with the following information:
Your full Name:
Business experience (Profession):
With this information I can provide you with more details and documents
concerning myself, this transaction and how we will carry out the
procedure immediately. Investing in your country with you representing us
will be appreciated if your business ideas are good, please state your
business ideas in your reply, if you don't have any, you will be advised
on how to go about it during the procedure. It is important that you keep
the contents of the mail to yourself due the huge amount involved and the
fact that this transaction does not need unnecessary attention.
Thank you very much.
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