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:
- "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)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.Judy Finchum" <Judy@seagreen.ocn.ne.jp>
Reply-To: "Mrs.Judy Finchum" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 30 May 2018 09:37:35 +0900 (JST)
Subject: Dear Sir/Madam,
We bring greetings to you in the name of the lord. This message is sent to you as a notification that you have been chosen to benefit from our charity project aimed at touching lives and helping those that we can across the world as God has blessed us.
I won the Powerball Jackpot of $133 Million Dollars on September 19, 2017 and I have voluntarily decided to donate the sum of $39 Million Dollars to charity. In this project, I try to reach people randomly from different sources and modes so as to touch lives from different angles, Hence you are getting a message here.
You have been listed as one of the lucky recipients to receive $1 Million Dollars. This donation is made out to you so to enable you strengthen your personal issues and mostly to generously help us extend hands of giving to the less privileged, orphans and charity organizations within your locality.
Should you wish to verify, below are links to that effect.
You are required to get back to me on how to receive the donation on this email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs. Judy Finchum