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:
- "your urgent reply" (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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Annie Johnson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Annie Johnson <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2014 21:24:52 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: PLEASE DO NOT TREAT AS SPAM, KINDLY REPLY
Â I am Mrs Annie Johnson, a widow to late Mr. Kossa Johnson. I am 61 Years old. I am a christian. I am suffering from a long time cancer of the breast. My husband died 5years ago. I write you this email with heavy tears In my eyes and great sorrow in my heart, my Doctor told me that my body is no longer responding to treatment as they don't know what else to do for my recovery, he said that I can not survive the illness.
My late husband was a successful businessman, unfortunately he died and i inherited most of his businesses and wealth. Based on what the doctor said about my health, i know i have limited to live, i have decided to divide part of this wealth to contribute to the development of the less privileged in America, Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia. I selected you after visiting the website and prayed over it. I am willing to donate the sum Ten Million, Three Hundred Thousand United States Dollar ($10.3Million) to the less privileged. Please i want you to note that this money deposited in a bank in Nigeria (West Africa) where my late husband and i had most of our business investments mostly on Petroleum/crude oil Business. Please use 70% of total money to help the less privileged and also do other charity work, then the remaining 30% is for you.
When i hear from you, i will forward to you all the information you will use to get this fund remitted to you in your country. I honestly pray that this money when transferred to you will be used as i have directed. I have come to find out that wealth without God is vanity.
If you agree to do this for me, kindly write me back through my private email address firstname.lastname@example.org
May the grace and love of God be with you and your family.
I await your urgent reply.
Mrs Annie Johnson.