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)
- "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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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: "Russell March" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2016 19:23:28 +0200
Subject: REPLY IMMEDIATELY
Genuine opportunity for both of us. I am a retired staff of Wells Fago bank, I was the account officer to late Libya Dictator Muammar Gaddafi. He had a confidential oil business partner in America that frequently sends funds to his secret account in our branch, I will then transfer the funds to his bank account in his country Libya upon his instructions.
While war was going on in his country, the sum of Sixty Eight Million Dollars ($68,000,000.00) was transferred to his secret account by the oil business partner shortly before his death in October 20, 2011, the funds are intact in the account since then. The fund is still intact in the account and no one (I emphasize no one) is aware of the actual owner of the funds except me and I have every knowledge of how to peacefully claim the funds from the bank. However his business partner believed the funds was remitted to his account in his country before his death.
Therefore I want the fund transfer out of the Wells Fargo bank account to your bank account. This will be done legitimately. My dear friend, this is risk free life time opportunity we must get hold of. You will receive the funds safe and sound in your bank account and we shall share it 50/50. Kindly indicate your telephone number in your reply. Should you be interested kindly send me your full information as stated below to Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and I shall provide you with further information. REPLY IMMEDIATELY.