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:
- "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.
- 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: "CHRIS" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2016 01:58:06 +1200
Subject: URGENT REPLY
I have picked up the trust and courage to write you this letter with divine confidence that you are a reliable and honest person who will be capable for this important and confidential transaction which I have for you, believing also that you will never let me down either now or in the future.
i would love if you can assist me in this business deal? over 250 million dollars worth was moved to A Bank. I do not want to lie to you because it is a deal as i speak. It is an oil money, i do need your assistance on how we can use it properly and move this said funds.
I will secure the vital documents that will make you the beneficiary of the fund to enable us claim it from the Financial Institution where the fund is deposited. The question is, can we work together?
Kindly get back to me for further discussion on this> firstname.lastname@example.org you are interested.