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:
- "huge sum of money" (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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Safia Farkash Gaddafi" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 7 Aug 2012 22:30:55 +0100
Subject: From Mrs. Safia Farkash Gaddafi..Pls Reply Now
Greetings in the name of Allah,
I am the wife of the late Libyan President Gaddafi who was killed by rebels on Thursday 20th Oct 2011, please my life is in big danger and I would like to use you as my contact to move a huge sum of money and start living a free life in your country. I have been on veils as a Muslim since he married me, which is our religion right, nobody has seen my face or knows me except my children and him and I thank Allah for this.
I cannot be identified by anybody in the world now that things have gone bad. I am taking refuge in Northern part of Nigeria. Formally i was in Algeria but we left there out of fear that we is not safe because the Rebels can trace to any Northern part of Africa. I and my three children can't go back to Libya otherwise we will be killed. We are afraid that our life could be in danger in Libya and for reasons which i believe you know, we can not live in Nigeria.
The death of my husband was a broad day murder by the Libyan rebels. He was captured and killed not by stray bullet as the world was made to believe. it was a bad experience and a difficult in time for us. I want to relocate to your country, to start up a new life. I have some money fifty one million us dollar ($51m) in my possession which i will like to invest in any profitable business in your country. I want you to guard me through the business i will invest. I will reward you with 20% percent of the total money.
I will furnish you with more info as soon as I read your response indicating your interest to partner with me. At present I don't receive or make calls for security reason (s) as it is being monitored.
All communication is based on internet. I look forward to your prompt and positive response. Please if you are not interested, please kindly delete and do not spread this message for the safety of my family life. Please reply only to my confidential email address: (firstname.lastname@example.org) for security reason.
Mrs. Safia Farkash Gaddafi