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:
- "dear beloved," (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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 urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Ruth Hull" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2012 01:11:06 -0500
Subject: Dear Beloved
I pray you find peace with this. I'm Ruth Hull from Malaysia, wife to late Dr. Harry Underwood an Ex-Chairman of T.O.C. London who died on air crash on a vacation to the Canary Islands, Spain Wednesday, 20 August, 2008.
Here is the proof.
We were married with no child and I decided not to remarry since I'm now old. When my husband was alive, he deposited $25,800,000.00 (Twenty five million, Eight hundred thousand Dollars) in a finance house which he intended to use for a charity project. And the bank wrote me a week ago to come and claim this money as the next of kin or give an authority letter to someone who can do it for me. I can't do this myself because I am presently in a hospital where I've been taking treatment for cancer of the lungs for the past four years. My doctors have told me that I have only but few weeks to live that is why I decided to use this fund for charity work. I have no family who can do this for me, so I decided to look for a sincere person or family who can use 80% of the fund to run the charity. As soon as you respond, I will write an authority letter to the bank to release the fund to you. I want you to promise me that you will use this fund exactly as I have said.
I await your urgent reply.