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:
- "with your full names" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "huge deposit" (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 us 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 of america" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- +22545725745 (Cote d'Ivoire, probably a prepaid mobile phone)
- 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: Prince Kamara <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 30 Aug 2013 06:08:40 +0000
Subject: Urgent Attention
>From Mr Prince Kamara
My name is Mr Prince Kamara a Banker, I am the personal accounts manager to
Eng.Mrs Sharon, a National of United State of America,She work with an oil
servicing company here in Cote d Ivoire.and Ghana.
Since her death, I have made several inquiries with USA embassy to locate
any of her extended relatives but has been unsuccessful, I contacted you
for particular interest is her huge deposit with our bank here,where these
deceased has an account valued at about ($35.5million US dollars).
Our bank have issued me a notice to provide the next of kin or the bank
will declare the account unserviceable and thereby send the funds to the
bank treasury. I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin of
these deceased, so that the proceeds of this account valued at
($35.5million US dollars) can be paid to you and then you and I can share
All I require is your honest cooperation to see this deal through. I
guarantee that this will be executed under all legitimate arrangement that
will protect you from any breach of the law.
contact me with your full names, address, date of birth, telephone and fax
numbers here is my email email@example.com, no,+225-4572-5745 for
Thanking you for your anticipated co-operation
Mr Prince Kamara