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:
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- 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: "Brown Hilton" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2017 03:49:36 +0200
Subject: FROM BROWN
Request for Confidential Business Relationship
I know that this proposal will come to you as a surprise since we do not know each other in person. For the purpose of introduction, I was a silent business partner to The Former SA Cabinet Minister late Mr. Collins Chabane in South Africa. After due deliberation, I decided to contact you for your assistance in standing as benefactor to the sum of US$20.5 Million equivalent since I and my colleague are currently in need of a silent partner whose identity can be use to transfer the said sum. This fund accrued to us as commission from foreign contracts executed with Department of Mining & Energy through our private connections.
The fund is presently waiting to be remitted to any beneficiary confirmed by me as associate/receiver.
My proposal is that after you receive the funds, it would be shared as follows: (1) 30% to you for your co-operation and assistance in facilitating the transfer, 65% for us while 5% will be set out for any outcome expenses we might incur during the cause of the transaction.
I plead with you on one issue, whether you are interested or not, kindly do not expose this information.
I am waiting for your kind response
Private email: firstname.lastname@example.org