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:
- "good day friend" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "transfer into your account" (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)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Marrilyn Austiin <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2017 11:37:25 +0100
Subject: Helping Orphaned Children
Good Day Friend,
My name is Mrs Marilyn Austin, I have been suffering from breast
cancer and the doctor says that i have just few days to leave. I am
from Switzerland, but based Africa since ten years ago as a business
woman dealing with gold, now that i am about to end the race like
this, without any family members and no child.
I have $2.4 Million US DOLLARS in Bank which i instructed the bank to
give African union leaders to help sick people around Africa. But my
mind is not at rest because i am writing this letter now through the
help of my nurse beside me here in my hospital room.
I also have $4.7 Million US Dollars in another bank in Burkina Faso
which i want you to claim from the bank and use help less privilege
people in your country, but you must assure me that you will take only
60% of the total money and give the rest 40% to the Charity
organization and orphanage home in your country for my heart to rest.
Upon the receipt of your email that you are willing and capable to
execute my plan, i will instruct the bank management to make the
immediate transfer into your account.
Mrs Marilyn Austin