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:
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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.Rita Ferguson" <xx@yy>
Date: Mon, 08 Oct 2018 22:39:18 -0700
Subject: FROM:MRS.RITA PATRICK FERGUSON/
MY NAME IS MRS.RITA PATRICK FERGUSON , PLEASE I WANT YOU TO REPLY ME BACK AS SOON AS YOU READ THIS MESSAGE BECAUSE I WANT TO DISCUSS SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT WITH YOU,,I AM A CANCER PATIENT WITH A VERY SHORT TIME TO LIVE AND I AM CONTACTING YOU BECAUSE I WANT TO ENTRUST THE SUM OF (USD$12.7 MILLION) TO YOUR HAND AS A DONATION FOR CHARITY WORK., TO HELP THE ORPHANAGES, WIDOWS, AND MOTHERLESS CHILDREN AROUND YOU,
THIS MONEY WAS DEPOSITED BY MY LATE HUSBAND IN ONE OF THE BANK HERE IN ABIDJAN AND OUR PLAN WAS TO USE IT FOR INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENT BEFORE THE DEATH OF MY HUSBAND, AND CONSIDERING MY PRESENT BAD HEALTH CONDITION WHICH MY LAST DATE HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED BY MY DOCTORS , I HAVE DECIDED TO ENTRUST THIS FUND TO YOUR HAND FOR CHARITY WORK, ,I AM WAITING YOUR URGENT REPLY FOR MORE INSTRUCTION AND INFORMATION ABOUT THIS FUND,
I AM WAITING YOUR URGENT REPLY TO MY PRIVATE EMAIL HERE = firstname.lastname@example.org = FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS FUND PLEASE I WANT YOU TO SEND ME YOUR REPLY TO THIS EMAIL == email@example.com
MAY GOD BLESS YOU AS YOU REPLY ME BACK TO THIS EMAIL= firstname.lastname@example.org
MRS.RITA PATRICK FERGUSON
Please Reply back to : email@example.com