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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "consignment " (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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Williams Coleman" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 8 Sep 2012 05:58:12 -0400
Subject: Mr. Williams Coleman
>From Mr. Williams J Coleman
I need your services in a confidential matter regarding consignment (fund) out of a family beneficiary deposit.
This requires a private arrangement.
You will receive these funds under legal claims; all legal documents will be carefully worked out to ensure a risk
Free transfer.30% of the total sum would be your own potion at the end of this deal.
I have all the details. The funds in question are quite large ($36.8M).I will expect a straight answer from you.
If you are willing to assist, kindly furnish me with your personal information which must include your direct cell
Phone and fax number, your address and company name.
Please get back to me through my private email email@example.com
Thanks and God bless you as I expect to hear from you.
Mr. Williams J. Coleman