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:
- "god fearing " (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.
- 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 (Yahoo, Japan; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "MRS. JANET OBEID" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 5 Feb 2013 13:56:56 -0500
Subject: CAN I TRUST YOU
I am Mrs. Janet Obeid; it's true we do not known each other but My spirit led
me to write you this email. I write you with heavy tears in my eyes and great
sorrow in my heart because my Doctor informed me that It will take only the
will of God for me to survive due to my Complicated health issues (CANCER).
Based on this, I want to will my money 10.5 million USD to a faithful and God
fearing person who will use it as I will instruct hence I am contacting you. I
want you to use the funds to raise a business in any area you have experience
and expertise and to disburse 50% of the annual net profit on charity causes,
35% for expansion (or diversification) while 15% will be kept by you as
compensation for your labour.The disbursements should be made to charities
such as orphanages, motherless babies homes and to humanitarian causes. I
will wait to hear from you if you can handle this task with honesty.
Reply me only on this email; email@example.com