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:
- "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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Engr. Ping Huang" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 4 Oct 2019 09:29:47 -0700
My name is Engr. Ping Huang, I am a citizen of Australia, a business man
specialized in oil and gas; but now I am critically sick with esophageal
which has damaged almost all the cells in my body system.
My late wife died in an accident with our two daughters few years ago leaving
me with our only son whom is just 11 years old, and he is my most concern now
as he is still a child and does not know anything about live and has nobody to
take care of him if I died; because I and my late wife does not have any
relatives, we both grew up in the orphanage home and got married under
orphanage as orphans. So if I die now my innocent child would be left alone in
this wicked world and I do not wish to send him to any orphanage home, I want
him to grow up in the hands of an individual, not orphanage.
Please, I am begging you in the name of God to sincerely accept my proposal;
let me instruct my bank to wire transfer my fund worth the sum of US$
10,000,000.00 (TEN MILLION DOLLARS) to your account immediately, then you will
take my son to your home and raise him as your own son.
As soon as the fund is transferred to your own bank account, you shall take
of the total amount transferred to your account as my representative and the
trustee of my son, and use 70% for the up keep of my little son.
Please reply immediately with your full data if you agree to help me, so that
we can arrange for the transfer of the fund to your own bank account before
anything happens to me, because I will undergo surgery by next week, and I do
not know what will be the result of the surgery as the doctor has told me
already that I may not survive.
Please i wait to hear from you now, it's a matter of urgency.
Mr. Ping Huang
Reply to my private email (email@example.com)