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:
- "lome togo" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: em ks <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 18 May 2013 12:03:34 -0700
GOOD DAY TO YOU,
I'M COLLINS FRANKLIN, A NIGERIAN BUT STAYS IN LOME TOGO WEST AFRICA. I
AM CONTACTING YOU BASICALLY ON BUSINESS ISSUE THAT MIGHT WORK FOR OUR
OWN INTEREST. I WILL LIKE TO KNOW IF IN ANY POSSITIVE WAY I WILL BE OF
A HELP IN ESTABLISHING YOUR FIRM HERE IN WEST AFRICA, I\'M NOT
FINANCIALLY UPDATE TO HANDLE A BIG BUSINESS OF MY OWN BUT WILL BE OF
ANY SERVICE IN ANY KIND OF ESTABLISHMENT THAT YOU MIGHT BE WILLING TO
INSTALL HERE IN WEST AFRICA. I AM WILLING TO WORK AS AN AGENT FOR YOU
IN ANY POSSITIVE CONDITION FROM YOU FOR OUR MUTUAL BENEFIT. I PRAY
THAT THE ALMIGHTY GOD INSPIRES YOUR UNDERSTANDING TOWARDS MY MASSAGE.
MY PRIVATE EMAIL; email@example.com