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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- 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: "MR. LEON WITTER" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2016 17:29:04 +0100
Subject: CAN WE INVEST THIS $10M IN YOUR COUNTRY AS A JOJNT INVESTMENT
Our names is Mr. Leon Witter & Mr. Joao Guedes we work with APPEX SERVICE a sister company to a muti-national finance company based here in the London and I am an American citizen. I have a business proposition of Ten million United State Dollars ($USD10, 000, 000 .00) for you to handle with me from my financial desk.
We will need you to assist my colleague and I in executing this business project and consequently invest this money in your country or Malaysia.
We need to know if you will be able to handle a business transaction involving this amount of money after, which we will go into details to explain the simple detail of realizing this objective without delays. Should you be interested please reconfirm your names in full, private phone/ fax and contact address and scan copy of your international passport or driver license for identity.
Please send your urgent response immediately for me to commence on the proceeding of our deal.
MR. LEON WITTER & MR. JOAO GUEDES
PLEASE REPLY TO MY PRIVATE EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org