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:
- "million 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)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "abidjan" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: a z <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: a z <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2013 16:28:06 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Good Morning
I am Miss Marina Moheed the only surviving daughter of late Mr/Mrs Hassan Moheed My father and my two brothers was killed on September 18, 2011, by the unknown persons (Armed Rebels) that attacked our home in Libya, during the crisis that leads to the death of Muammar al-Gaddafi on October 20, 2011.
I am from Egypt and 19 years now but have never been there before because I was born in Libya. My father left US$18.8 Million dollars (Eighteen Million Eight Hundred Thousand United State Dollars) in the Bank in London. Now, I lost my father and my two brothers, I need somebody I can trust a partner who will not betray me that will receive this fund and take care of me. Presently, I'm in a refugee camp in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in West Africa, please if you can be of any help do get back to me for more details.