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:
- "million 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)
- "diplomatic courier" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mary Shloss"<email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2014 17:14:05 -0600
Good Day, I hope my email meets you well. I am in need of your assistance.My name is Cpl. Mary Shloss, American officer I am in the Marine Engineering
military unit here in Afghanistan; we have about $23 million Dollars that we want to move out of the country. My partners and I need a reliable person,
someone we can trust. It is oil money and legal. We are moving it through diplomatic means, to send it to your house directly or a bank of your choice
using diplomatic courier service. The most important thing is that can we trust you? Once the funds get to you,you take your 25% out and keep our own
75%. Your own part of this deal is to find a safe place where the funds can be sent. Our own part is sending it to you. If you are interested I will
furnish you with more details. But the whole process is simple and we must keep a low profile at all times.I look forward to your reply and
co-operation, and I thank you in advance.
Cpl. Mary Shloss
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