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:
- "million united states 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)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "INFO" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 9 Dec 2014 15:53:44 +0100
I am sending you this mail in good faith. I am Mrs. RITA KOKOU now undergoing medical treatment for cancer. I was married to late Dr. DAVID KOKOU who was a contractor with the United Kingdom consulate in Hong Kong for many years. Before his death in 2002, we both had an account with a financial institution where we deposited the sum of Twenty One Million United States dollars. Recently, my doctor told me that I have few months to live due to cancer problem.
Having known my condition; I have decided to nominate you as my beneficiary since the financial company has now written me that the length of time agreed upon to hold my funds have now expired. My desire and purpose is for you to promote humanitarian works. I.e. assisting the less privileged and building orphanage homes in your country and to upset my medical bills.
Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein. I will give you further details when I hear from you via E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
In His Arms.
Mrs. RITA KOKOU