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:
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "cashiers check" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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: "Mrs. Rose George" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 07 Aug 2017 20:50:12 +0800
Subject: BANK CHECK.
Did you receive my last email which i sent to you from Thailand?
Anyway, the message was to inform you that I have successfully moved
the funds to Paris, France. So, I am using this opportunity to thank
you for your great effort, time and concern you showed to help me out,
even though we did not succeed following one reason or the other best
known to you. It was with the help of a french business tycoon who was
capable of assisting me in this great venture through the help of the
For your effort, sincerity, and trustworthiness, you showed at the
beginning of the transaction I decide to compensate you and show my
gratitude with the sum of $750,000. I have authorized my new lawyer
who is now also my legal adviser in Thailand to issue you an
International certified bank cashiers check which i signed in your
favor before leaving Thailand for Paris. I will like you to contact
the lawyer for the collection procedure of this international
certified bank check, and below is the contact information's of the
Barr(Mr): Richard Morgan
At the moment, I'm very busy here because of the investment projects
which I and my new partner are having at hand in Paris France.
Finally, remember that I have forwarded instruction to the Lawyer on
your behalf to send the bank Check to you as soon as you contact him
without delay. I'd like you to accept this token with good faith as
this is from the bottom of my heart.
Thanks and God bless you and your family.
Mrs. Rose George
This message was sent using IMP, the Internet Messaging Program.