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:
- "contract award committee" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: S Brown <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 1 Apr 2016 20:47:45 +0000
Subject: Need to talk with you
I am Joyce Alba, 21 years old. I am currently staying in England. i decided to forward to you this proposal, i want you to assist me receive the sum of £ 5,200.000(Five Million Two Hundred Thousand pounds) in your account for investment purpose.
This fund resulted from maintenance of petroleum refinery contract my father executed before he died. now the bill has been approved for payment but the chairman of the contract award committee of the National Petroleum corporation resources minister asked to present guardian before they can release the fund to me.
I will compensate you with reasonable amount if you can stand on my behalf to get this done. as soon as i confirm of this money in your nominated bank account, I will come over to your country to arrange for your own share and possibly invest part of this money in your country. Let honesty and trust be our watchword throughout this transaction. i may not wish to disclose the most important thing for now until I hear from you. My personal account (email@example.com)