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:
- "money laundering" ("anti-terrorist", "anti-money laundering" or "drug-free" certificates are a common way for criminals in fake lottery scams and other Advance Fee scams to get you to send money to them. There are no such certificates in the real banking world. )
- "million united states 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)
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "MRS. KIM Seung" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2017 02:38:16 +0200
Subject: JOINT ROI
Firstly, let me identify myself without any intention of equivocation.I am Mrs. Kim Seung, the wife of Mr.Woo Seung who is currently being victimized by the Korean government.I have a legitimate business offer for you regarding some secret funds deposited somewhere in Europe for a safe-keeping, totaling the sum of USD$150,000.000.00 (One Hundred and Fifty Million United States Dollars Only).
These funds belong to my Husband who wants to invest a large amount of funds in Europe or your Country under qualified foreign partnership, these funds has no such illegalities like drug trafficking, money laundering or any financial crime attached to it. If you feel disposed towards the solicited role, please indicateby prompt response, so that I may provide you further details of the transaction, and also let you know what will be coming to you as remuneration for your solicited role.After that we shall then come to an understanding concerning the prospective areas of investment that will be conducive for investors of foreign descent. Bear in mind however, that this is a legitimate transaction, and the only reason why strict privacy is advised, is as the result of restrictions of the Korea regulations. I look forward to your prompt response(email@example.com)
Your prompt attention to this matter would be greatly esteemed.