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 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.
- 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 (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
Date: Fri, 25 May 2012 02:25:04 +0600
Subject: Can we trust you?
I do hope my email meet's you in good health, I'm Capt Wilfred Wilson a
U.S.helicopter maintenance supervisor in the 3rd Infantry Division, in
Syria. I am writing to solicit your allegiance as the custodian to an
asset value of 10 Million dollars that we are transferring out of the
My partners and I are in need of someone we can trust to actualize this
venture. The money is from oil proceeds and is legal. We are moving it
through a diplomatic pouch to your house directly or a safe and secured
location of your choice through a diplomatic pouch. Can we trust you? Once
you receive the funds, you take an awesome reward of 30% then keep our
70%. Your role is to find a safe place where the funds will be deliver.
We seek your utmost rationality and confidentiality in this. If you are
interested reply to firstname.lastname@example.org then I will furnish you
with more details.
Capt Wilfred Wilson
God Bless America!!