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.
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs Kathy Wong" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 15 Jul 2012 08:58:19 -0700
Subject: Mrs Kathy Wong
Hi, I'm Kathy Wong and a Malaysian. I am admitted in a cancer hospital in my home country and I have been diagnosed of stage 3 of esophageal cancer so I have less than three months to live. I am undergoing my chemotherapy at the moment. My husband died 5 years ago and we had no child. I was born an orphan. The doctors and nurses here are too busy for what I am proposing which left me with this one choice that found you.I want a friend who will take over all I have and use 70% of it to start up an orphanage home that will cater for orphans as well as donate to the research of cancers in children. The 30% left will be for all your troubles in helping me. Most of my properties have been sold and its overall worth is approximately 3.7 million in american dollars. I will tell you more if you express your willingness to take up my offer. I wait to hear from you.