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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million pounds" (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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "30% for you " (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)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a "dying merchant" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "MR RICHARD AHMED" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2012 00:30:57 +0800
Subject: CAN YOU BE TRUSTED??
As you read this, I don't want you to feel sorry for me, because i believe
everyone will die someday and am contacting you because i really do need
your help,and i want you to help me with all your effort and time for just
seven to fourteen working days of your time.I want you to be honest and
truth full with me that you will help me with my last wish as a dying man.
My name is Richard Ahmed a merchant in Malaysia, in Kuala Lumpur.I
have been diagnosed with esophageal cancer, It has defiled all forms of
medical treatment,and right now I have only about a few months to
live,according to medical experts.I have not particularly lived my life so
well, as I never really cared for anyone (not even myself)but my business.
I am very rich, I was never generous,I was always hostile to people and
only focused on my business as that was the only thing I cared for.But now
I regret all this as I now know that there is more to life than just
wanting to have or make all the money in the world.I believe when God gives
me a second chance to come to this world I would live my life a different
way from how I have lived it. Now that God has called me, I have willed and
given most of my property and assets to my immediate and extended family
members as well as a few close friends.
I want God to be merciful to me and accept my soul so, I have decided to
give also to charity organizations, as I want this to be one of the last
good deeds I do on earth.So far, I have distributed money to some charity
organizations in the U.A.E, Algeria and Malaysia Now that my health has
deteriorated so badly, I cannot do this myself anymore. I once asked
members of my family to close one of my accounts and distribute the money
which I have there to charity organization in Bulgaria and Pakistan,they
refused and kept the money to themselves. Hence, I do not trust them
anymore,as they seem not to be contended with what I have left for them.
The last of my money which no one knows of is the huge cash deposit of
Eighteen Million Pounds £18,000,000,00 in a Bank abroad.I will want you
to Act as my Beneficiary who will help me contact the Bank on my behalf to
discuss the terms and condition of getting this deposit out from their
custody and also helping me to dispatch it to the charity organizations.,
I have set aside 30% for you and for your time.Please get back to me through
my private email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
God be with you.