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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million us 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)
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
- with your direct contact details via my email address: email@example.com or alternative email: firstname.lastname@example.org for further (Gmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Luke Sapatto" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2017 11:14:28 -0000
Subject: I NEED YOUR HONEST ASSISTANCE
I am Mr. Luke Sapatto the Administrative manager at a vault of financial &
security Institute in Madrid, I am contacting you as regards to an
abandoned sum of $14.9 Million Us dollars (Fourteen million nine hundred
thousand United State dollars) in our safe deposit vault, that belongs to
one of our foreign customers that share the same surname with you, who
died on July 2013 in a ghastly Train accident in Santiago de Compostela
The banking policy can only allow the release of such funds to a
benefactor through an application as next of kin to the deceased. After
his death, the bank has been expecting a possible beneficiary, but nobody
came for the claim, this institute has exploited all its ethical
possibilities in other to contact possible relation or inheritor, but no
success, I have made my own research with the help of private
investigator, it is my knowledge that this man has been living in
Barcelona for the past 19 years and has never returned back home. I also
leant that his wife and 7 year old daughter died with him during this
accident, however because of the international financial crises, a lot of
reform has been made within the Spanish financial system; this includes
the new law on succession/claims which indicates a duration in which such
inheritance could be tolerated.
Upon your acceptance to partner with me, you and I will have a fair share
of the fund in the ratio of 50% for me while the renaming 50% is for you
as my partner..
Please kindly get back to me with your direct contact details via my email
address: firstname.lastname@example.org or Alternative Email: email@example.com
for further details Thanks.
Mr. Luke Sapatto