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.
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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: "Bob kelvin" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2016 14:41:33 -0400
Subject: How are you doing?
My name is Bob Kelvin, Esq and I am contacting you in regards to some
deposited with a bank here in London by my late client who is now
leaving no known relatives to claim the estate. I contacted you because
surname corresponds with my late clients. The deposit is valued at
I had to make a search with his last name before I was able to contact
I want you to be assured that my contact with you is under a very
arrangement. I have all the relevant documents that will facilitate the
immediate transfer of the funds to you without any hitch.
I will provide you with additional details immediately I hear back from
If you have any questions, just feel free to ask me.
I await your reply.to this email address email@example.com