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:
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- 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, Japan; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "MRS.JANET OBEID" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 15 Jul 2012 11:28:43 -0400
Subject: VERY URGENT
I am Mrs. Janet Obeid; my spirit led me to write you this email. I write you
with heavy tears in my eyes and great sorrow in my heart because my Doctor
informed me that I will die in 3 weeks time due to my
Complicated health issues (CANCER OF THE LUNG). Based on this, I want to will
my money 10.5 million USD to a faithful and God fearing person who will use it
as I will instruct hence I am contacting you.
I want you to use the funds to raise a business in any area you have
experience and expertise and to disburse 50% of the annual net profit on
charity causes, 35% for expansion (or diversification) while 15% will be kept
by you as compensation for your labour.The disbursements should be made to
charities such as orphanages, motherless babies homes and to humanitarian
causes. I will wait to hear from you if you can handle this task with
honesty. Reply me only on this email@example.com
Warm wishes from,