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:
- "30% for you " (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)
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: johnson <email@example.com>
Reply-To: johnson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 31 Aug 2016 11:20:29 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Hoping to receive your reply
I am Mrs. Helen Johnson of Canada, Aging widow suffering from long illness. I am currently in a private hospital here in Abidjan Recognize, Ivory Coast, I Have Some funds I inherited from my dear husband of the late Mr. Johnson Canon. Of U.S. $ 5,500, 000.00 All he Kept in one of the banks here, and I want a honest and fear of God to use these funds for God's work and I have set aside 30% for you and your family keep while you donate 70% to the less privilage people,this will be my last wish. There is no risk involved the fund belongs to me and i will send you all the documents as soon as i hear from you.
I will give you more details or full story as soon as i receive your reply as the fund was deposited with a bank in Ivory Coast. Please Can you keep it secret?
may the grace of our God be with you and your family Amen?
Hoping to receive your reply. God bless you.
Mrs. Helen Johnson