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.
- 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: "Mr. Mark Edwaldo Herbert" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2012 01:34:05 +0800
Subject: INVESTMENT PROPOSAL
I am Mr. Mark Edwaldo Herbert from United Kingdom, writing to inform you of our desire to invest in your
country on behalf of Dato faizal abdullah of Malaysia.
Considering his very strategic, influential position in his country, he hopes that the transaction is
strictly confidential as possible. Also, do not want to disclose his identity at least for now until the
completion of the transaction.
Hence our desire to have you as our agent abroad to protect and invest his funds in a profitable
business, I have therefore been directed to know if you would agree to act as a foreign agent in order
to update this transaction.
If you can handle this, then you can come back to me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for your anticipated cooperation and consideration.
Mr. Mark Edwaldo Herbert.