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:
- "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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Colonel Najmi Al-Nakua" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2017 02:20:19 -0700
Subject: YOUR URGENT REPLY IS NEEDED (INVESTMENT PROJECT)ar
I am Colonel Najmi Al-Nakua from Libya, the new appointment deputy to PM Faiez Serraj, I got your e-mail address from the investment dictionary list worldwide; I need a honest and trust worthy business partner for investment project worth 13.5 Million Dollars.
The transaction will be 100% safe, all I need is your honest and full support till the end of the business, and then I will be very happy to accept you as my business partner; your kind urgent answer is needed immediately.
You have 35% share of the total investment funds worth 13.5 Million Dollars after all transaction is completed by you, if you are interested send your reply to this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your urgent reply is highly needed.
Colonel Najmi Al-Nakua