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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "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)
- ",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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
Date: Fri, 01 Jun 2012 13:09:22 +0300
Subject: Business Proposal.
I kindly want to put these pieces of information to your notice. My name Is Mr. Senders Holmes a citizen of South Africa, formerly based in England but I am presently in India seeking for a reliable and trust worthy fellow to assist me in investing my money which I deposited with the United Nationâs office Banking Department here In India, for an investment Purpose.
The said amount is $5,000,000.00.USD (Five Million Dollars). I am here because India has the fastest growing economy in the world which prompted the US president to visit India to seek access to the market.
If you would be my partner please get back to me (email@example.com) as I was strictly informed that a foreigner cannot operate a bank account that will carry such an amount and that direct foreigner investment is not allowed in India except on a joint venture. So I want you as a citizen of India to assist me so that we can transfer this fund into your nominated Local bank account and 15% percent will be offered to you for the work well done.
I am eagerly waiting for your favorable reply.
Mr. Senders Holmes