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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "hundred thousand 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 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.
- email@example.com (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: mr.Hung Au <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2014 00:13:51 +0100
Subject: Re:Urgent Reply
I notify you again on my intention to list your name as a beneficiary to the total sum of
US$5.5m(Five million Five hundred thousand United States Dollars ) in the intent of the
(name now withheld since this is my second letter to you).
I contacted you because you bear the surname identity and therefore I can present you as
beneficiary to the inheritance since there is no written "will". My aim is to present you
Bank Management as the Next of Kin to our deceased client. I will guide you all through
the Claim procedure by providing all relevant Information and guiding you in your
decisions and response to the Bank Management. All the papers will be processed after your
In your acceptance of this deal, I request that you kindly forward to me your letter of
acceptance; your current telephone and fax numbers, age, occupational status and a
address to enable me submit to the Bank Management the details as the Next of Kin to the
deceased Account owner.All replies should be sent to:email@example.com