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:
- "million united states 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 Aisha <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2012 03:21:49 +0000
Subject: URGENT RESPOND PLEASE.
I know you will be amazed to read from me, but please consider this letter as a request from a widow your assistance. I am Mrs. Aisha Yacouba; the wife of the late Mr. Yacouba Zerbo. Formal manager of EZOCS SHIPPING COMPANY, I am sending this brief letter on behalf of my daughter to solicit your partnership to transfer my late husband fund, sun of USD$20Million (Twenty million United States Dollars) into your account in your country please. I want you to get back to me immediately if you willing to assist me and I shall send you more information and procedures when I receive a positive response from you.
Mrs Aisha Yacouba,