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:
- "dearest one," (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million us 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "MRS AWA SAMBO" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2011 08:34:40 +0100
Subject: CHARITY INQUIRY
I was compelled to write you through this medium for this humanitarian purpose. With due respect my name is Mrs. Awa Sambo, married to late Mr. Adama G. Sambo who was the director of the Timber Processing & Exportation until his death.
Before his untimely death, he informed me about the sum of US4, 000,000 (Four million US Dollars) which he planned for Foreign investment with his foreign partner.
I am sending you this letter because I have only but a very limited time to live due to the recent development of my ovary cancer disease. Having known my condition, I want you to come in as my late husband foreign Partner, so that the fund can be transfer to you for investment and the profit from the investment will use for charity work to support orphans and poor widows which will be under your management and supervision.
If you are interested to work with me, get back to me with your business and personal contact details and I will send you a more explanation.
Mrs. Awa Sambo.