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:
- "million 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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Haja Mariam" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 5 Aug 2011 21:08:55 -0500
Subject: Please help me
Due to the sudden death of my husband General Abacha the former head of state of Nigeria , I have been thrown into a state of hopelessness by the present administration.I have lost confidence with anybody within my country. I got your contacts through personal research,and had to reach you through this medium. Due to security network placed on my daily affairs I cant visit the embassy so that is why I have contacted you.
My husband deposited $12.6
million dollars with a security firm abroad whose name is witheld for now till we communicate. I will be happy if you can receive this funds and keep it safe I assure you something good out of the funds in return for your assistance. I will need your telephone/mobile numbers so that we can commence communication.Please read and reply back asap with your telephone number.My private email address is firstname.lastname@example.org