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:
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- "confidential business" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- 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: "John Woods" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2018 19:28:06 +0100
Dear Sir, Madam,
A Strictly Confidential Business Proposal
I am Mr.John Woods, a Consultant with the Department of Power and Steel here in Spain . I have been contracted by a wealthy individual and serving government official from somewhere in Africa who is interested in engaging your services for investment of a large volume of fund (Ten Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ) Which he Deposited with a Finance Company here in Spain . You will act as the beneficiary of the fund to carry out the investment of the fund in any business venture you consider lucrative.
If you are capable of handling any type of investment in your country, Please, get back to me immediately and send your telephone and fax numbers to enable me communicate with you and provide you with further details.
Note that 30% of the fund is your share (Commission) for securing the fund from the security company before the investment of the fund shall be carried out. This is necessary because the investor as a serving government official in his country of origin is eager to transfer ownership of the fund to you because he is not expected in his official capacity to own such huge sum of money.
I will appreciate an urgent response from you.