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:
- "lome togo" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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: "Princess Sandra Joannson" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 6 Aug 2011 12:29:46 +0200
Subject: I am a girl of 19 years Please help me i what to come to your country.
FROM : PRINCESS SANDRA JOANNSON
PLEASE REPLY TO THIS MY DIRECT EMAIL (email@example.com)
I AM WRITING THIS MAIL TO YOU WITH TEARS AND SORROW FROM MY HEART WITH DUE RESPECT TRUST AND HUMANITY I APPEAL TO EXERCISE A LITTLE PATIENCE AND READ THIS MAIL I SENT TO YOU. AFTER GOING THROUGH YOUR PROFILE I BECOME INTERESTED IN DISCLOSING EVERYTHING ABOUT MYSELF TO YOU,I AM PRINCESS SANDRA JOANNSON.THE ONLY DAUGHTER OF LATE CHIEF AND LOLO. EVANS EDWARD JOANNSON.
PLEASE DEAREST, LET US REASON TOGETHER AND HAVE TRUST IN GOD, I AM SEEKING YOUR ASSISTANCE TO HELP ME TRANSFER MY INHERITANCE MONEY THE SUM OF ($2.3,000,00 US DOLLARS) TWO MILLION THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATE AMERICAN DOLLARS. INTO YOUR ACCOUNT.PLEASE IT IS MORE THAN URGENT BECAUSE OF MY LIFE IS IN DANGER.
DEAREST, I AM WILLING TO COMPENSAT YOU FOR YOUR EFFORT AFTER THE SUCCESSFUL TRANSFER OF MY INHERITANCE MONEY INTO YOUR ACCOUNT OVERSEAS.
YOURS IN GOD LOVE
PRINCESS SANDRA JOANNSON.