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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "trunk box" (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)
- "trunk boxes" (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)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Michelle Owens Large" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 1 Apr 2016 08:07:15 -0700
Subject: Kindly Reply ASAP+
My name is Mrs. Michelle Owens Large from Guayaquil Ecuador, am a dealer on Gold and diamonds. I know my message will come to you as a surprise based on the fact that we have not meant before, i got your e-mail contact on a private search on the internet while i was searching for a trusted person. I am going on a cancer surgery 8 days from this day. You should contact the Security Company listed below this message with this information: Personal Reference Number SKT-MMOL-BSL-FEB15 of my trunk box that I saved with the Security Company The boxes contains $18,450,000.00 USD. I here by donate this money to you help the poor and for the good work of our lord on earth. Because I am not sure of marking it alive from this surgical procedure.
Note: The Security Company doesn't know contents in the trunk box as CASH it was declared Family Treasure & Valuables; so do not disclose this to the Security Company when you are contact with them it is important for you be conscious and make it a top secret.
Please if you know deep in your mind that you can help me archived my aim for these funds, you should forward Your Full Name, Contact Address and Your Direct Phone Number upon receipt of this mail. This will enable communicate with the Security Company to release the trunk boxes to you on my behind.
Thank you for your anticipated co-operation.
Mrs. Michelle Owens Large