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)
- "million united states 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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "John Meyer" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 16 Oct 2015 06:28:03 -0400
Subject: BUSINESS PROPOSAL
I am John Meyer an Auditor General in one of the major leading Banks in
South Africa. In my Standard Bank, I discovered an abandoned large sum of
money USD$38 M (Thirty-Eight Million United States Dollars) belonging to
one of our late Foreign Customer since 1999 nobody has operated this
The owner of this account is SEAN BURKE a American National, also a
businessman based in South Africa, who was involved in an air crash in
Please confirm from this web site to know more.
I am basically writing to you to seek your Sincere Co-operation to present
you as the only sole business partner beneficiary to this deceased Name
(SEAN BURKE) Since he specified no beneficiary, and no other person knows
about this Account.
The Strategy/plan is to use my influence As Auditor of the bank to approve
the funds to you.
If you are keen/interested let me know so that I can explain further
details and next procedure/modalities more precisely and the share ratio.
Kindly respond with your details, such as:
1. Your Full Names:
2. Cell Phone Numbers:
3. Fax Numbers:
4. Postal Address:
6. Date of birth.
Please do contact with this my private e-mail address:
email@example.com and telephone numbers TEL/
+27-78 101 5849 for further details