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:
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "David" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 8 Oct 2014 11:25:19 -0700
Subject: Ref: Information about Your late Relation/Family member!
I am David Fenton, an Investment adviser/sole executor to your late relation.
There is Estate (Cash deposit in bank and some landed Properties) belonging to your late family member whom I will like to discuss with you; He is related to you going by the lineage, surname and country of origin.
Once I receive your information and endorse same appropriately, I shall provide you with all the privileged information/legal documents relating to the deceased and also will give you guidelines on how to realize this goal without the breach of the law. I would respectfully request that you treat the content of this letter as privileged and respect the integrity of the information you come by as a result
of this correspondence. Contact me immediately for more information and to begin the legal process of redeeming your lawful entitlement before the bank is compelled by law to hand over the money to the government.
This is my second but final attempt to reach you in view of this subject matter. Email: email@example.com