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 united states 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Hyo Keun Lee <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 04 May 2017 07:13:07 +0800
Subject: Business assistance
I am Mr. Hyo Keun Lee citizen of South Korea. A resident of Syria due to
the present political unrest and instability in Syria affecting foreign
investors. I decided to relocate to your country. I got your contacts
through my personal research and out of desperation. I deal on crude oil
I decided to reach you through this medium.
I have US$56,000.000 (fifty Six Million United States Dollars) for
investment purpose. I want you to receive this fund on my behalf and
invest on a profitable business venture on an agreed terms. If you are
interested I will offer you 25% of US$56,000.000Million United States
Dollars. please get back to me as soon as possible through my private
email address:(firstname.lastname@example.org) for us to discuss further.
The business transaction must be kept top secret for security reasons.
Mr. Hyo Keun Lee