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:
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Ms Tan Ruby <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 07 Nov 2015 14:05:01 +0100
Greetings from my side and how are you doing? I hope you are doing very
I am Dr Paul Sawadogo the chief Medical consultant at Suka Clinic
Ouagadougou and I have a Patient who hails from Norfolk Island but
unfortunately is very ill right now due to health challenge and she has
sum of $4.6 Million United States (Four Million six Hundred Thousand)
Dollars she wants me to transfer to you Please, I will like you to
me for further details as this is a very sensitive issue that needs
attention from you. please this is my private email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Paul on behalf of
Mrs. Tan Ruby