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.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Abigail Misma" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2019 20:53:27 -0800
Subject: A message from Abigail
I know my email might come as a surprise but I just had to let it out and its better than getting into bad gangs or being a prostitute. I am 16yrs years of age from a not too very well off background but my father manages to provide for the 13 kids he has from a polygamous decision he made. I lost my mom when I was 10years old to asthma and barely out from elementary school but that did not deter my determination in pursuing my education, so I resulted in doing menial jobs to raise money for my secondary education which I am just about completing in a few months from now.
My reason for writing this letter is to seek help in enrolling for my secondary school final exams to enable me to gain admission to the university where I plan to achieve a degree in Medicine and become a medical Doctor.
I wish I did not have to resort to this, but I have struggled to this point and am determined to complete my education and not let anything stop me in doing so. During my search for someone to assist me, I came across an NGO who is willing to sponsor my education through the University and has done their due diligence in getting me approved. They are at the process of issuing out the required funding and requested I provide a trust account. I do not need you to send me any money of your own but your help in representing me and receiving the funds on my behalf.
Can I trust you to help me out with this? Please respond via my email email@example.com.