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)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. Benjamin A Hague" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2012 20:33:55 +0530
Subject: HINDI SPEAKING INDIAN PARTNER NEEDED
My Name is Dr Benjamin A Hague ( British Citizen) a business consultant
based in London My search for a trustworthy Indian national led me to
contact you through the internet
There is a multinational Jewelleries Branding Company based in Texas(USA)
whom I would like you to stand as a middleman to procure some Raw Materials
This Company always visit your country (India) to procures most of their raw
materials since the past 5 years in huge quantity.
The company pays for the materials on Cash On Delivery (C.O.D.) basis upon
verification of the materials.
I am looking for a reliable person/businessman that understands the Indian
local language who will assist me in contacting the local dealer of this
product in India.
I have called the local dealer many times, but could not understand the
local language or rather my accent, to enable me negotiates the terms of the
supply with them.
This proposal is 100% risk free and will be another income generating
business outside your
I will give you more details of this proposal the moment I hear from you.
I anticipate hearing from you urgently.
Dr. Benjamin A Hague