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:
- "a security company " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- 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 Sonia Wilson" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 20 Aug 2017 09:29:37 -0700
I am Mrs Sonia Wilson from Ireland writing you this email hoping it will meet you in good condition. I am a deaf and i am suffering from a long time illness which i feel has not giving me the power to fulfill my heart desires for the poor people which i so much cared for during my good healthy days.
My dear i write you this email to seek for your help in receiving my funds which was deposited in a security company in United states by my late husband,this funds when received i want distributed to motherless baby homes,widows,orphanage homes and deaf homes etc. If you will be willing to do this on my behalf as a trustworthy Christian please reply me for more details ,when i get your response i will give you the contact of the security company so that you can contact them via email for the release of the funds to you,i will tell you the amount when i get your response.
Reply through my private email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs Sonia Wilson