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:
- "remain blessed" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "John Kata" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2012 06:00:52 -0600 (MDT)
Please, may you receive this letter with peace of mind and with due
respect as it may be very strange to you since we have not communicated or
know each other before.I am looking for your cooperation in building a
Tourist Hotel or Real Estate or to invest into any other business you can
advise me in Your country. I am sorry if this is not in line with your
business. I need your assistance to help me set up, develop the project
with $5.4M, which I inherited from my late father. On the resumption of
the project, you will be made a Director for the role and the assistance
You will also be entitled to a percentage agreed upon between me and you
before the commencement of the project. Your immediate reply will be
highly appreciated and I shall give you more information on this project.
I will be very happy to receive your acceptance reply to help me to
accomplish this plan to come to your country with my junior sister to
further our educations while you will be managing the investments on our
behalf. Please kindly help us for the sake of God and humanity. We are
anxiously waiting for your acceptance reply to help us out.