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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: (sent from abused email account)
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2016 23:33:02 -0700
Subject: International Conference Meeting Invitation
On behalf of Gender Inequality and Human Rights Organization, I am pleased to invite you to our conference that will be held from September 5th to 10th, 2016 @ the conference place in Dallas Texas USA.The conference meeting will contain various talks and mini workshops related to the issues of Challenges to Economic Development & Human Rights in our society.
The topic of the conference is "The Impact of Gender Discrimination on Economic Growth" the sponsors of this event shall cover your round-trip air tickets from your country to the USA and back to your country and we shall also provide visa assistance with the U.S Embassy in your country of residence and your ground transportation from the airport to the conference venue. The hotel accommodation booking cost will be your own responsibility. Please contact the conference secretariat for more information and registration for participation: [email@example.com].
We look forward to your confirmed presence at the conference.
Dr. Christina Walker,