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:
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- "million united state dollars" (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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
- 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: "Mazaliana Idris" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 2013 10:42:03 +0600 (BDT)
Subject: Good Day!!!
Sorry to take a little of your time. My name is Mazaliana Idris aged
57yrs, suffering from long cancer of the lungs.
I am a widow to Late Mr. Iskandar Idris who was killed during U.S. raid
against Terrorism in Afghanistan.
Until his death, my late husband was into oil and gas business that
fetched him huge sum of money which I inherited as his next of kin.
During the period of our marriage, we couldn't produce any child but by
the special grace of God(Allah) we adopted a little girl by name Nadia
I decided to contact you through this medium because I was told by my
personal doctor that my cancer stage has deteriorated so much that I many
live up to two more months from now and considering the faith of this
little girl we adopted, I decided to will my inherited money to you
so that you can take care of her.
My late husband before his death, deposited a total amount of $15.5Million
United State Dollars with a Financial Firm in Malaysia where we lived for
before relocated to this country Afghanistan that claimed the life of the
most loving husband and father on this whole earth (My Husband).
I want to introduce you as the new beneficiary of this fund to the
Financial Firm in Malaysia if only you will
promise me that you shall take care of my little Nadia as your own
biological daughter and invest part of my fund into charity.
Please, you are entitled to 30% of this fund for your efforts while you
invest the balance of 70% into charity and taking care
of little Nadia.
Respond urgently to this message if you are interested.
Mrs. Mazaliana Idris.