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:
- "might come to you as a surprise" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Sir Aref Safiah" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2019 20:27:15 +0200
Subject: Letter Of Interest
Greetings to you in the out there!!.
This mail might come to you as a surprise and the temptation to ignore it as unserious could come into your mind; but please, consider it a divine wish and accept it with a deep sense of humility. My name Aref Safiah I'm a 79 years old man. I am British living in Dubai (United Arab Emirate).
I was a merchant and owned two businesses in Dubai.I was also married with two children. My wife and two children died in a car accident six years ago. Before this happened my business and concern for making money was all I lived for.
I never really cared about other values in life. But since the loss of my family, I have found a new desire to assist helpless families. I have been helping orphans in orphanage/ motherless home, I have some deposit in the Bank which I want you to help me distribute to the Tsunami and Hurricane victims in Asia.
Presently, I'm in a hospital in Europe where I have been undergoing treatment for esophageal cancer.I have since lost my ability to talk and my doctors have told me that I have only a few months to live. It is my last wish to see this money distributed to charity organizations. Because relatives and friends have plundered so much of my wealth since my illness, I cannot live with the agony of entrusting this huge responsibility to any of them.
Looking forward for your reply.