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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "huge amount 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)
- "time is not on my side" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: SHELL OIL COMPANY <User5@info333.onmicrosoft.com>
Date: Sat, 14 Dec 2013 04:40:18 +0800
Subject: Urgent reply nedded,direct to my E-mail id: email@example.com
COMPLIMENT AND GREETINGS OF THE DAY!
I know that this massage will come as a surprise to you but after much consideration i decided to contact you, before we proceed, i don't know if i have introduced myself to you, I am Dr. Dennis Walter;
I got your esteemed contact during my comprehensive web research for a reliable and trustworthy individual in your country. I will need your help in this situation I find myself, am really afraid and don't know whom to confide in. I am a medical doctor working in camp in Aleppo, Syria.
I have a huge amount of money which i want to transfer out of Syria. Please I will need your help in regard to this; I can forfeit 20 percent of my money to make sure it's safe. i will be leaving the army camp in few months time, I need your help in getting this money out of Syria.
Please get back to me if you have interest and I will make the arrangement on how to get this done. Because Syria Govt. is using chemical weapon on civilians, time is not on my side. Via email:( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dr. Dennis Walter.