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 us 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)
- 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 Daouda Ali <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 3 Jan 2017 11:40:38 +0100
Subject: DEAR FRIEND.
I am Mr.Daouda Ali the head of file department of Bank of
Africa(B.O.A) here in Burkina Faso / Ouagadougou. In my department we
discover an abandoned sum of (US$18 million US Dollars) in an account
that belongs to one of our foreign customer who died along with his
family in plane crash. It is therefore upon this discovery that I now
decided to make this business proposal to you and release the money to
you as the next of kin or relation to the deceased for the safety and
subsequent disbursement since nobody is coming for it. I agree that
40% of this money will be for you, while 60% would be for me. Then
after the money is been transferred into your account, I will visit
your country for an investment under your kind control.
You have to contact my Bank directly as the real next of kin of this
deceased account with next of kin application form. You have to send
me those your information below to enable me use it and get you next
of kin application form from bank, so that you will contact Bank for
the transfer of this money into your account.
Your Full Name_______________________
Your Home Address____________________
Your Age ___________________
Your Handset Number____________________
Your Occupation _______________________
I am waiting for your urgent respond to enable us proceed further for
the transfer through my private e-mail(email@example.com)