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:
- "stay blessed" (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: "Hannah Olm-Lakes" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 2015 15:59:12 -0600
Subject: From Olm-Lakes/
I am Mrs. Hannah Olm-Lakes. I was diagnosed of cancer about 2 years ago, and I am
receiving treatment for it, but I have just been informed by my Doctors that
I have a short time to live.When I was in good health, I never really cared
for anybody, with no child of my own and a late husband .
I have decided to give you the sum of $5 Million so you can disburse to
charities, widows, orphans and less privileged.
I was doing this myself before my health deteriorated. I mandated my
relatives to do this for me but they only saw it as an opportunity to enrich
themselves.I am due for surgery soon, I want this act of mine to be an
offering to humanity, perhaps some people may be saved.
Please let me know if this is something you can handle and I will provide
Mrs. Hannah Olm-Lakes.