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:
- "million 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)
- "top secret" (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: "Colonel Ahmed Bani" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 6 Mar 2017 08:55:06 -0800
Subject: YOUR URGENT ATTENTION IS NEEDED (PARTNERSHIP BUSINESS)
My name is Colonel Ahmed Omar Bani, Air Force Libya and current spokesman for the Libyan Ministry of Defense, Please do not be surprise of receiving my mail, I saw your e-mail address from the investment list worldwide, I am searching for a honest and trust worthy person to work with me on my investment project worth 13.5 Million Dollars in your Country.
I advise you to keep the transaction TOP SECRET at the moment, but I assure you 100% risky free in this business, all I need is your honest, full support and effort, then I will be very glad to accept you as my business partner, I will need an urgent answer from you so we can start immediately.
I will offer you 25% of my total funds worth 13.5 Million Dollars, after all transaction is completed by you, send me your reply to this e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
I wait for your response as soon as possible.
Colonel Ahmed Omar Bani