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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "i want to solicit your attention" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "trunk box" (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)
- "trunk boxes" (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)
- "chambers" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- 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: "Rexon Schwartz" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 23 Mar 2019 22:57:52 -0400
Subject: Business Offer.
I am sorry to encroach into your privacy in this manner, I
found you listed in the Trade Center Chambers of Commerce
directory here in Iraq and I find it pleasurable to offer
you my partnership in business.
I only pray at this time that your address is still valid. I
want to solicit your attention to receive money on my
I am CPT Rexon Schwartz, an officer in the USA Army and also
a West Point Graduate presently serving in the Military with
the 82nd Air Borne Division Peace keeping force.
I am on the move to Afghanistan and i really need your help
in assisting me with the safe keeping of two military trunk
boxes. I hope you can be trusted? Kindly view for your
If you can be trusted, I will explain further when i get
a response from you.
Nevertheless, reconfirm the following to me as follows and
please ensure to reply via my private e-mail address:
4.Copy of drivers license:
Thanks for your cooperation, God bless you and America !!