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)
- "million 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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "David Thompson" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 6 Mar 2016 20:24:12 -0500
Subject: From Sgt. David Thompson/ Confidential
My name is Sgt. David Thompson, a former member of the 3rd Infantry Division of the United States Army deployed to Iraq during the War 12-13 years ago, Now serving with the United States Special Forces to Counter terrorism in West Africa. Based on my request, i will like you to please read the following news article.
Now i happen to be one of the soldiers in the news that found all the barrels containing the money and i have a very good business proposal for you, if you are interested you will make 3 Million Dollars in few days very simple.
With my international connections i found a very reliable way to ship two boxes containing Fifteen Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars(US$15,500 Million) cash from Pakistan to any destination of my choice and with this opportunity all i need is someone capable to receive the money and keep them safe till we are able to meet in person. All you have to do is receive the 15.5 Million Dollars, take out your 3 Million and keep the rest safe till i am able to meet you in Person. I have everything arranged and all i need is a safe place to keep my money till am back home, If you think you can handle this request please get back to me so we can proceed in due time.
Waiting to hear from you.
Sgt. David Thompson