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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "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: Fera Koro <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2013 12:37:52 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Dear Sir/Madam,
It is obvious that this mail will appear to you as a surprise because we are yet to know ourselves but, I believe that true relationship begins in one day if trust and understanding reign. I have my reason for establishing a new relationship for the purpose of this transaction and that I shall relate to you as we proceed. My contacting you is for you to help me for the retrievial, transfering and investment of my inheritance (US$3.5Million) which is presently deposited in the bank here in Abidjan, Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire). For your sincere effort in helping me I have resolved to give you 15% of the total sum. Your quick and positive response to this mail will save a soul as I'm passing through a difficult situation here.
Thanks and remain blessed.
Miss Fera Koro