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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "chambers" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- 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: "Shing Sung Machinery Co. Ltd" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2012 01:38:51 +0100
Subject: Requisition for your legal consultation services
Attn: Dear Sir/Madam
This is an official requisition for your legal consultation services on behalf of (Shing Sung Machinery Co. Ltd)We are situated in china & our branches across asia. We are experts in the Production of raw materials, such as Barites, Paint & Coatings, Plastics & Rubbers, and chemical Machines from Asia into Europe and America. We export goods into North America and parts of Europe.
We have a dire need for USA liason\receiving representative to assist us with receiving payments from our delinquent customers in USA, indebted to us in quite substantial and various amounts of monies and we request for your services accordingly.
We are presently incapacitated due to international legal boundaries to exert pressure on our delinquent customers in USA and we request for your services accordingly.
We got your contact information from the Chambers of Commerce, in search for a reliable firm or individual to provide services as requested. After a careful review of your profile,
we are of the opinion that your Escrow activity is relevant to our needs. We wish to state that we are open to negotiation of your compensation.
Please accept my appreciation on behalf of , in advance for your willingness to render your services and we look forward to your prompt response to our request.