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.
- 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: "ALVIN KOJO" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 15 Jul 2012 14:01:33 +0200 (CEST)
My name is Alvin Kojo, UN Staff working at the UN Independent Station
(humanitarian abuse reporting department West Africa Region). I got your
contact through cross border business information center situated here in
Accra Ghana as an online investor.
On behalf of my partners, I seek your assistance to accommodate and invest
for us the sum of 22.6M Euros. The money in question is sourced to us by a
particular head of states as a gesture for appreciation of a good work
rendered to their country, but In line with the moral principal of our
services, we are not required to accept gift of any kind nor own more than
10,000 USD in our respective bank account, hence our plea to be
represented by a trust worthy person to accommodate and invest the sum for
Please note that this request is not a hoax.
We count on your ability to accommodate and invest the funds for us until
we are able to process our resignation successfully.
If you are interested please provide me with the following in return
email: Email: (email@example.com) call me (+233 202 967 804)
YOUR NAME IN FULL
YOUR OFFICE OR RESIDENTIAL ADDRESS
TEL AND FAX NUMBER
As soon as I hear from you, further details regarding the transaction will
be unveiled to you.
I look forward for your urgent response.