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 us 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)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Jerry Starnes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Jerry Starnes <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2014 11:10:09 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Hello My Dear,
Hello My Dear,
Please handle this donation for charity purpose,
I m Jerry Starnes, 74 year old from the state of America suffering from long time illness/cancer. Now hospitalized in a private clinic, unable to walk and cannot hear well due to the damage done to my ear because of the cancer. I have the sum of $5,000 000 ( Five Million US Dollars) deposited in my bank account during the time am working with the Agip petroleum as the director of foreign operation and this account have not been operated for 2 years now due to my illness.
Now that is clear that Iâm dying and my wife died years ago with my only child of 15 years old, I have decided to give out part of the sum for charity work and I need a very honest and God fearing person that can use this funds for said purpose and also help me use the part of the fund to establish my only daughter for her future, building of schools, health care centers and hospital for the less privileged in our society. Note: 30% out of the total funds will be for your compensation and remuneration for the work you will do while the rest is for charity purpose. If you would be able to use these funds as stipulated, kindly reply immediately.