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 united states 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "your humble assistance" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Cliff Maxson" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 18 May 2011 02:07:35 +0200
How are you and your family? I hope this letter finds you good.
Well I intended to established and come to operate a very viable business
as a means of investment in your country. But I do not know how this is done
in your home town, so I will need your help in this regard.
My preference is any good profit yielding business and I would appreciate any
viable ideas you could come up with, Though I will also need you to help me look
for properties like homes and lands for sale as I am proposing to invest in your
country the sum of Thirty Million United States Dollars ($30,000,000.00 USD) for this operation. However I do not know if you can be able to be of help to me ?
My need for this business proposition and to acquire these properties is
very urgent as I am planning to reallocate out of this country with my family down to
your country. I want you to also help in finding a good home where my family and
I will live. Please I expect your good and prompt reply so that we can
For Further information/better clarification,contact me on my personal
email address (email@example.com) and I will need your phone number for easier communication.I am in a sincere desire of your humble assistance.