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:
- "dearest one," (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: stephanie mashal <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 06 Jun 2017 19:51:39 +0300
Subject: Dearest One,
Thanks for your attention and I pray that my decision to contact you
will be given genuine approval. My name is Stephenie Mashal I'm 22 years
old and the only child and daughter of my parents. My late father was
the quality control Supervisor at Tullow Oil in Abidjan, the economic
capital of cote d'Ivoire. he was poisoned to death by his business
associates on their outing during business trip. My mother died when i
was still a baby. please i want you to assist me transfer
US$6,500,000.00 (Six Million Five Hundred Thousand United States
Dollars) my late father deposited in one of the prime bank here in Cote
d'Ivoire for an investments in your country. I will offer you 30% of the
money as compensation for your assistance to transfer the money to your
I am waiting to get your response for more details.