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)
- "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 "dying merchant" scam.
- 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: "Santiago N. Diego" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 7 May 2018 05:19:37 -0700
Subject: From: Mr. Santiago N. Diego
Dearest Beloved in Christ,
I am Mr. Santiago Diego Nicholas a Spanish national based in England, I
was browsing and I saw your e-mail So I decided to write you if your
e-mail is real please accept my apology for this unsolicited contact, I
have been diagnosed with esophageal cancer. It has defiled all forms of
medical treatment, and right now I have only about a few months to live. I
am very rich, but was never generous; I have given most of my assets to my
immediate family members.
I have decided to give alms to charity organizations. I cannot do this
myself anymore because of my health. I once asked members of my family to
give some money to charity organizations, they refused and kept the money.
I have a huge cash deposit of (25M) twenty five Million united states
dollars with a finance House in United State. I will want you to help me
collect this deposit and dispatch it to charity organizations. You will
take out 25% of these funds for your assistance to help ME disburse this
fund to charities.
I will like you to acknowledge the receipt of this e-mail as soon as
possible and treats with absolute confidentiality and sincerity.
Please write to me for more details.
Santiago Diego Nicholas