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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a "New Partner from Paraguay" 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: Linda Ibrahim Coulibaly <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Linda Ibrahim Coulibaly <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2014 13:34:18 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Dear Friend,
I'm happy to inform you about my success in getting the fund transferred under the cooperation of a new partner from Paraguay.
Presently Iâm in Paraguay for investment projects with my own share of the total sum. Meanwhile, I didn't forget your past efforts and attempts to assist me in transferring those funds despite that it failed us some how.
Now contact my secretary, his name is WILLIAM FRED. and his Email Address secretary email: (email@example.com) ask him to send you the total ($200.000.00 Dollars) which i kept for your compensation for all the past efforts and attempts to assist me in this matter. I appreciated your efforts at that time very much. so feel free and get in touched with my secretary WILLIAM FRED. and instruct him where to
send the Cheque to you.
Please do let me know immediately you receive it so that we can share the joy after all the suffer ness at that time. in the moment, i am very busy here because of the investment projects which me and the new partner are having at hand, finally,
remember that I had forwarded instruction to the secretary on your behalf to receive that Cheque, so feel free to get in touch with
WILLIAM FRED. and he will send the Cheque to you without any delay.
with best regards