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:
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",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)
- "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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: =?utf-8?Q?Tanya_Narcisa_Mero_Roca?= <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2012 12:03:49 -0500
Subject: PLEASE CONSIDER MY REQUEST
I know this mail will come to you as a surprise because you don't know
me. My name is Mr.Talal Salim. I am a branch manager of my bank here in
Asia which I will tell you the name and details as soon as you reply
this mail and show interest to executive this business with me. I got
your contact from internet directory.
I am in position of US$35,000,000.00 belonging to the Son of Libya
Leader Muammar Gaddafi. The Money was deposited in 2009 by Khamis
Gaddafi. Khamis Gaddafi is the youngest son of Muammar Gaddafi. He
opened an account in my Bank and deposited the money secretly without
any next of kin, he even refused to pick his account particulars.
If your interested to carry out this function with me, I will edit our
computer and files and change the name of Khamis Gaddafi and fix your
name as the owner of the account, then me and you will decide on how to
transfer the total money to your account in your country. When the money
arrive your account in your country, I will travel to your country for
Get back to me with your full details if your interested so that I can
inform you exactly what to do and how we can make this deal successful.
I also want us to reach an agreement on how to share the money when it
arrives your account.
I am assuring you that this money belongs to Khamis Gaddafi and Khamis
Gaddafi died on 29 August 2011 when a NATO helicopter destroyed the car
he was traveling in.
I need your urgent reply.