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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found 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: "MELODY" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2018 18:21:37 -0500
Subject: Read and reply urgently , very important
You did not reply my previous email , did you not got my previous email ?
I am Miss.Melody , I'm 28 years old girl , from UKRAINE ; I am interested in buying properties and other investments in your country through your assistance if you can help me. I would like to learn more about your country's culture and other interesting lucrative business in your country.
I would like more information about these projects so that I can learn more about the investment project in your country and clarify your plan.
My father was a businessman in Donbas before the civil war. My father was killed and his business destroyed by the war. Our economy has collapsed since April 2014. There is no meaningful economic activities going on in Ukraine and there will be none for the foreseeable future even if the war stops today as it will take more than four decades to re-build our infrastructure and our economy.
I want to migrate to your country but not as a refugee rather as an investor, as I still have a substantial part of my father inheritance holdings intact. which is worth of ( $3.000,000 ) ( Three Million USA Dollars )
This is why I found it wise to contact you so that you will help me to come to your country to establish a business since this country wont be safe for me
I wish for a prompt response so that I will tell you what next to do
Please reply directly to my private email at firstname.lastname@example.org