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:
- "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)
- 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: "Mrs. Estelle S. Martins" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2017 16:56:35 -0700
Subject: Please Reply!!
Dear Respected Friend,
With Due Respect and Humanity, I was compelled to write to you under a humanitarian ground, however, this is not mandatory nor will I in any manner compel you to honour against your will.
Please I am contacting you to let you know my desire to establish a charity foundation in your country with this sum of US$6.5 Million (Six Million Five Hundred Thousand United States dollars) which I inherited from my late husband (Mr.Johnson Martins) It is my desire to see that this money is invested to any organization of your choice in your country and distributed each year among the charity organizations, motherless baby's home, mosques, churches, Schools,supporting destitute aged men and women or whatever you may have in mind that will be to the benefit of the less fortunate. I took this decision because I was raised from a motherless baby's home and Presently, I'm hospitalized here in (Ivory Coast) where I am undergoing treatment for my upcoming lungs Cancer surgery operation.
Please reply as soon as possible, confirming your acceptance to this proposition so that I will give you all the relevant information that will authorize the release and transfer of the fund to you as my duly
assigned representative. Thank you in advance for your Consideration and I look forward hearing from you shortly.
Reply back to me immediately for more Details of the fund on my private email. email@example.com
Mrs. Estelle S. Martins