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:
- ",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)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "ENGR. SUNDAY A AMAD" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 25 May 2012 15:37:02 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Important Message from Mr.Sunday Afolabi
Important Message from Mr.Sunday Afolabi
I am Mr. Sunday Afolabi A top Government Official here in Nigeria. I want your
assistance to front you as owner of this (us$10,000,000.00) to facilitate the
release which came as a result of over-invoiced proceeds from completed contract
from 2010-2011 here in Nigeria.
If you accept to work with me on this, I will present your Name and informations as the Contractor who executed the contract and yet to be paid fully. Bear In mind that I confide in you that's why I have contacted you to help me out on this because it is for our own mutual benefit.
Your percentage for your assistance is 30% of the total fund if you are interested.
Note: this message is strictly for the addressed email bearer. If you have
received in error kindly delete immediately and disgard. I thank you for your