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:
- "a security company " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "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)
- "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: "Margret Larmay" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2014 15:45:30 -0500
Subject: Getting to you
Although we never met before. I am Margret Larmay from Dublin Ireland, I am writing this mail to you with heavy tears in my eyes and great sorrow in my heart because my Doctor told me that I will die in three weeks time.
Based on this development I want to will my money which I deposited in a security company in UK to you for the building of Orphanage home for the saints and name it after my name in your country. Is a special task from God and a promise I made to him, You will take 30% of the total sum which is $5.7 million dollars to cover up all expenses you might incur during the transaction While 70% will go for buying of land and building project of the orphanage home. All I need from you is honest and sincerity.
I grew up as an Orphan and i don't have anybody or any family member to take care of my wealth.
I will provide you with other information's once you indicate your willingness.
Be kind to reply my email please because I don't know what my tomorrow may result and I don't want the security company to confiscate my fund as lack of unclaimed.
Contact me direct at email@example.com