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:
- "urgent assistance" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Miss Ayesha Gaddafi" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2013 11:50:08 -0300
Subject: I NEED YOUR URGENT ASSISTANCE!
I NEED YOUR URGENT ASSISTANCE!
I am Miss.Ayesha Gaddafi, one of the daughters of the embattled president
of Libya, I am currently residing in one of the African Countries,
unfortunately as a refugee.
At the meantime,my family is the target of Western nations led by Nato who
wants to destroy my father at all costs. Our investments and bank
accounts in several countries are their targets to freeze.
I have been commissioned to contact an interested foreign investor/partner
who will be able to take absolute control of part of the vast cash
available to private account with my late brother who was killed by NATO
air strike, for a possible investment in your country.
If this transaction interest you, you don?t have to disclose it to any
body because of what is going with my entire family, if the united
nation happens to know this account, they will freezing it as they freeze
others so keep this transaction for yourself only until we
I want to transfer this money into your account immediately for onward
investment in your country because I don?t want the united nation to
know about this account.Therefore if you are capable of running an
establishment and can maintain the high level of secrecy required in
this project, kindly respond with the following information for details of
1. Your full names and address
2. Your private telephone and fax numbers
3. Your private email address
4. Age and profession