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:
- ",000,000" (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)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. MELISSA LEWIS" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 04 Jul 2017 15:59:24 -0700
Subject: MY DONATION (EURO 4,000,000.00) CHARITY
I am writing to seek your consent to conduct humanitarian projects, becos I suffer from advanced cancer that prevents me from realizing my dreams. Doctor informed me that my days are numbered becos of my health is degrading.That is why I want to Send these some of my money to you (EURO 4,000,000.00) Four million Euro so that you can use it to help the Orphanages,homeless and Widows and 35% for you while you use 65% for the project,if you think you can give these poor children and poor widow a glimmer of hope and joy then let me know by replying to my private email which is email@example.com,Thanks for your cooperation and assistance.