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:
- "trunk box" (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.
- 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 (Yahoo, Japan; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: (sent from abused email account)
Date: Thu, 06 Feb 2014 03:08:08 +0530
Subject: ABU BAKR FROM SYRIA!!
Looking for kind assistance!!
I am Abu Bakr, a rebel leader here in Aleppo Syria, I and my second in
command came across some money that was parked in a trunk box and the
money is worth over $ 13 million, in one of President Bashar al-Assad's
allies house and we have moved the money out of the war zone to the United
Nations office as a medical equipment, but we are looking for a trust
worthy person that we can keep the above said money with him or her for
safe keeping pending when we are going to finish the fight here in my
If you can be of a help kindly get back to us through this Email, and if
you are not ready for the assistance please and please do not let this be
known to the world as this may bring division among us the rebels. If my
English is not too good please try to understand me and be of kind
assistance to us. My private e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org