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:
- "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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Vincent Zulu" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 6 Jun 2017 12:01:38 -0700
Subject: Top secret, get back to me immediately
My name is Vincent Zulu, a junior staff with IMF Liaison Office in South Africa. I am very sure that you are not aware of $7,900,000.00 which is attached to your email. This money was approved to be paid to you but some senior staffs presented someone else to claim your money because they believe you are not aware. They have succeeded in moving the funds out of Africa to a different account but the transfer was stopped by our USA office because they noticed that the email address of the person they presented does not match with your own email. I can secretly work with you and give you information where your money is currently being held and you can claim what belongs to you within 48 hours because it is attached to your email and maybe you are not aware. This is top secret so get back to me and I will give you more information. I await your urgent reply now before they take what belongs to you.
Mr. Vincent Zulu