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)
- "million dollars" (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)
- 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)
- thanks and regards, mrs. betty phillips emails: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com (Gmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Betty Phillips" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 25 May 2019 11:48:55 -0700
Subject: HONOURABLE REQUEST AND REPLY BACK
Greetings of peace and happiness to you, My name is Mrs. Betty Phillips , I was married to late Peter McArthur, I am terminally ill and have decided to donate my inheritance fund US$5M (Five Million Dollars) from my husband to you.
Regarding how I got your personal details, it is through the the help of the nurse assigned to attend to me in my private ward in this hospital, because I cannot surf on my own due to partial stroke, it is the nurse who surfs for me under my directives because I feel to donate my fortune to an individual and your profile was chosen.
I a am 78 years old woman with no child and have been diagnosed of acute cancer for about 2 years now.
You job will be to receive this funds and use US$4MILLION to build orphanages for children that has no parents, help the elderly people in your locality and widows too.
You shall then take and keep US$1MILLION as compensation for yourself for your assistance.
If you are sure that you will use the donated fund as I have advised here, get back to me for more details with.
Your full names and address
Your Profession/Job and Area of Specialization
Your mobile phone number that is good
Thanks and regards,
Mrs. Betty Phillips
Emails: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com