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:
- "dear beloved," (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",000,000" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: Maarja Laurie <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2014 10:33:38 +0100
Subject: Dear Beloved,
My name is Maarja Laurie.
I am addressing you this message through the work of God Almighty that made me to chose you amongst several lists of emails in order to hand these great responsibilities (¤2,000,000 - Two million euros) which I am certain you will handle it carefully being the gift that came from a woman with a sincere and genuine heart towards the orphans and less privileged.
It is certain that I do not know you, which I asked God Almighty to grant you the strength to handle these projects with a sincere and transparent heart. I am presently suffering greatly each day that passes by as I am not sure if I will survive, which was as a result of different surgical operations that I had. Beloved, I am afraid to die, but nobody is beyond death. Each day I keep praying to God Almighty for His help thereby directing me toward's somebody that will handle this project so that I can die peacefully.
The most important help that I need from you is to always be in constant prayers with me as I am sure that you have a sincere and open heart towards the poor and orphans. I do not want to leave this world without knowing that my funds are wisely used to help the orphans and poor.
I do not know how to thank you, but be sure that God Almighty will bless you for accepting to handle these projects so as to help the orphans and poor. I will be very happy to read from you so as to put you in contact with the institute where the money is presently as I am sure that you will properly make use of it.
My God Almighty bless you and your entire family