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:
- "million 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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (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: "Albert Watson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2017 08:05:29 -0500 (COT)
Subject: Your concent is highly needed!!!
I am Albert Watson,an attorney at law I am contacting you in respect to my
late client (Mr.Sri Val Edmond) fund valued at (U.S Thirty Five Million
Dollars). My client died with his entire family on a plane crash in Gulf
Air Flight Crash,Persian Gulf Near Bahrain Aired August 23,2000 - 2:50
p.m. ET as reported on CNN,Visit the website for more details:
After 15years of legal battle his bank has resolved to pay his fund and I
need you to stand as the beneficiary of the fund as I have no knowledge of
any of his surviving relative.
The fund will be shared in the ratio 60/40 respectively immediately the
bank transfers the fund to your account. Kindly,send your full name & cell
phone number to my private email: email@example.com
Please treat this mail with utmost confidentiality as I look forward to