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:
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Yahoo, Japan; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.James Patrick.Ogoola" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 2 Jun 2019 05:55:13 -0000
Subject: I AM WAITING FOR YOUR REPLY
My Name is Mr.James Patrick.Ogoola I am a banker by profession. I hail from Kampala Uganda, East Africa. My reason for contacting you is to transfer an abandoned $72.M
Before I introduce myself, I wish to inform you that this letter is not a hoax mail and I urge you to treat it serious. This letter must come to you as a big surprise, but I believe it is only a day that people meet and become great friends and business partners.
The owner of this fund died since on May 5th, 2014. With his Next Of Kin. I want to present you to the bank as the Next of Kin/beneficiary of this fund.
Further details of the transaction shall be forwarded to you as soon as I receive your return Message indicating your interest.