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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
- information and registration for participation: [ firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com ], looking forward to your (Aol; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. Tsega Belai" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2014 17:29:20 -1200
Warm greetings from Association for Human Rights Maryland U.S.A! We are organizing one week conference meeting on "Global Security and Human Rights" from November 24th to 29th, Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland MD USA. We take the pleasure of inviting you and your colleagues to the conference meeting. The conference meeting will contain various talks and mini workshops related to the issues of Human Rights and Global Security in our society.
The sponsors of the event will cover the cost of your round-trip airfare on a direct flight at the most economical fare. We will provide for your visa arrangement, and your ground transportation from the airport to the conference venue. Hotel accommodation costs will be your own responsibility. Please contact the conference secretariat office for more information and registration for participation: [ firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com ],
Looking forward to your honorable presence,
Thanks and Regards
Dr. Tsega Belai
Coordinating Committee of Scientific Activities
Conference Meeting November 24th to 29th Maryland MD USA
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