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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "confidential business" (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: "Mr. Diezani Madueke" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 05 Jun 2016 23:01:30 +0000
Subject: my subject urgent
I am a sick mother and I need your help. I worked reputable companies and have equally served my country to the best of my ability. I am presently on a sick bed in a private hospital in London. I need your help urgently, I have very important and confidential business proposition involving transfer of very huge amount that needs immediate attention. My sickness cannot allow me handle the transaction and my son is too young to handle the transaction. I need you to help me handle the transaction as it requires immediate attention. You will be greatly rewarded as the transaction will be of immense benefit for both of us.
I will give more details if you are interested in my proposal.
Awaiting your urgent reply.