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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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: "MR WU" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 15 Sep 2012 20:57:23 -0400
Subject: BUSINESS TRANSACTION
How are you today and business in your country? I am Liao Wu, Bank
Manager of bank of Overseas,Taiwan. I would respectfully request
that you keep the contents of this mail confidential and respect
the integrity of the information you come by as a result of this
I contacted you independently of our investigation and no one is
informed of this communication. A British Oil contractor with the
Chinese Solid Minerals Corporation, Mr. McManaman Perry made a
numbered time (Fixed) Deposit of $30,000,000.00 for twelve calendar
months and not too long Mr.McManaman Perry died from an airplane crash.
We have launched an investigation into possible surviving next of kin to
alert about the situation and also to claim his estate but in his bio-data
form, he listed no next of kin.
The world of banking especially is fraught with huge rewards for those
who occupy certain offices and oversee certain portfolios. I alone have
the deposit details to back you as the next of Kin to enable us
the fund away from my bank. My bank is simply awaiting instructions to
release the deposit to any party that i present as the next of Kin.
Please reply to my private Email: email@example.com