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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "million us 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)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: joy adams <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2014 06:36:43 -0700
I received encouraging information about you and how trusts worthy you
are. I am delighted with such useful information. My name is Ms joy
adams I am the manager of auditing and accounting department of BANK
OF AFRICA (B.O.Ahere in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
In my department i discovered an abandoned sum US$5.5 million us
dollars) in an account that belongs to one of our foreign customer who
died along with his entire family on July 2008 in a plane crash. Since
we got information about his death, we have been expecting his next of
kin to come over and claim his money because we can not release it
unless some body applies for it as next of kin or relation to the
Unfortunately we learnt that all his supposed next of kin or relation
died alongside with him at the plane crash leaving nobody behind for
the claim. It is therefore upon this discovery that I now decided to
make this business proposal to you, so that the money can be release
to your account as the next of kin. And I agreed to offer you 30% of
this money as my foreign partner after confirmation of the fund in
your bank account.You should contact me immediately as soon as you
receive this letter.
Trusting to hear from you immediately.
Respond to me with this mail address firstname.lastname@example.org
mrs. joy adams