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:
- "dear friend" (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 (Yahoo, Japan; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "MR LEON JONES." <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 07 Oct 2015 13:58:10 +0200
Subject: PLEASE READ, THANKS.
From Mr. Leon Jones
Fidelity Investment UK.
I am Mr. Leon Jones, A Fund Manager Executive with Fidelity Investment
UK, the world leading Investment & Fund Management Institution based in
UK/Channel Island. I have an investor under my portfolio with a closing
balance of GBP Â£15.745,000.00 as his first initial deposit. This
investor died four years ago without a written WILL or AUTHORIZATION for
re-transfer of his investment and its accrued interest to the INHERITOR.
I have personally carried out an investigation on the subject matter
that took me 12 months to finalize and was made to understand that the
family or relatives of the investor knows nothing about his investment
with Fidelity and none have any record of all his deposits and
investment with us, thereby creating an avenue for claiming of the said
funds with its accrued interest on presentation of a trustworthy person
that can stand as the INHERITOR to the deceased.
If you are interested i can present you as the INHERITOR with proper
documentation that will qualify you to have the funds claimed and
transfer to your account. I will make sure that we comply with the
banking laws/ethics of claiming the investment and its accrued interest
in our establishment.
Our sharing ratio will be 50:50. Please contact me for more details if
Please send your reply to firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking forward to hearing from you shortly.