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:
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "John David" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 25 Feb 2015 06:20:57 +0200
Subject: Good Day
I am John David the personal Assistant to Christine Lagarde Managing director International monetary fund IMF in USA. I know this will come to you as a surprise but it is a blessing for life and this transaction will be beneficial to you even on your retired days and you will be grateful to me for the rest of your life. During my investigation, I discovered funds that have been seized through the past government but due to my position now, I have discovered and confirmed that it can be released to you without any hitches. You are very lucky for me contacting you now because this is the best time to accomplish this transaction. This is an opportunity that comes which I cannot afford to lose because it is painful when you do not utilize a real opportunity. The details of the fund will be disclosed to you once you reply and bear in mind that your name will be used as the true beneficiary to the fund. Be happy because you are not spending any money from your pocket on this project. Also give me a number I can call you.
Mr. John David
Personal Assistant and chief spokesman of Managing director (IMF)
Contact me directly on the email: firstname.lastname@example.org