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:
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "ANDREW H" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2016 00:20:19 +0200
Subject: POWER BALL LOTTO OFFER!!!
I am Mr. Andrew Hales; I work in the Powerball Lotto. I am soliciting
your assistance for a swift transfer of 7,744,528.12 USD, should you
be willing to assist me in this project, and you will be giving me
just 25% of your winnings.
Just as a brief, you just have to register online; due to my position
in the company I can make it happen that you would be a winner of the
above stated amount. Naturally, every body would like to play a
lottery if they are assured of winning. I am assuring you today to be
a winner, please do not take for granted this once in a life time
opportunity as we both stand to collectively gain from this at the
success of the transaction.
Should you be willing to assist me in this transaction please do respond to