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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Sgt.Mark Edwards" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2016 18:17:16 -0700
Subject: Sgt Mark Edwards (Yes We Can)
My Name is Sgt.Mark Edwards. I am an American soldier, serving in the US Military of the Army 1st Armored Division in Iraq. I have a very desperate need for your help.I am seeking your kind assistance to move the sum of US$5.5 million and My Pay Checks , My Awards and Bars of Gold I got at the war zone in that box as far as I can be assured that it will be safe in your care until I complete my service here e-mail me: email@example.com more details.
1AD 1BCT G3,