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:
- "i will like you to " (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)
- "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)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- 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: "Attorney Phillip Alfred" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 3 Aug 2016 00:25:21 +0100
Subject: Confidential Business Proposal!
Email Address (email@example.com)
Confidential Business Proposal!
I am Attorney Phillip Alfred. I have a business proposal which will benefit both
of us, The amount of money involved is ($70.5 Million Dollars) which i
want to transfer from an abandoned account to your bank account; it is
100% risk free.
Upon the conclusion of this transaction, i accept that (45%) Forty Five
Percent will be for you in respect of all your assistance for this
transaction and (55% ) Fifty Five- Percent will be for me being the pioneer
of the business.
A lot of customers open private accounts with different Banks without
the knowledge of their families and when they die, such money will be
lost to the Bank unless someone comes to claim it. This is how a lot
of Bank Directors make so much money silently.
I will like you to provide immediately the below information's, to
enable me use it and get you next of kin application form from my
As soon as you reply through this private Email Address
(firstname.lastname@example.org),I will let you know the next steps and procedures
and more details to follow in order to finalize this transaction
Please keep whatever you learn from me between us even if you decide
not to go along with me.
Attorney Phillip Alfred