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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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: "Dr.Cathy wrote" <>
Date: Sat, 07 May 2016 17:50:17 +0100
Subject: 2016 Conference/Invitation
Dear Friend and Colleague,a
On behalf of (N.J.H.R.F) New Jersey Human Rights Foundation, U.S.A. It is my pleasure to invite you to the International global combined event on Human Trafficking, Prostitution, Sex Work, Child Protection, taking place from June 14th - 17th 2016 in New jersey the United States and in Dakar-Senegal, from June 20th - 23rd 2016. we are inviting people from various countries around the world. If you are interested to participate and want to represent your country, you may contact the secretariat of the organizing committee by email: email@example.com
Please mark these dates in your diary and share the information with your colleagues.
This email has been brought to you courtesy of Zimbabwe Open University