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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "transferred into your bank account" (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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Soma Moussa <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Soma Moussa <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2013 08:58:42 +0100 (BST)
Subject: From Mr.Soma Moussa,
I decided to contact you to help me actualize this business for the mutual benefit of both our families. I am the Auditing and Accounting section manager in a bank, there is one of our customers who have made fixed deposit of sum of ($39.5)million for 7 years and upon maturity; I discovered that he died after a brief illness without any next of kin on his file. I am contacting you for joining hands with the honesty and truth to ensure that the fund is transferred into your bank account.
Please reply quickly enough to enable me decide how to proceed with further details.
Mr. Soma Moussa.