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)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Melanie Blum" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 24 Nov 2019 11:52:41 +0100
Subject: Noble Offer!
My name is Melanie Blum and contacting you with a donation of $13M; I was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer and my oncologist only recently informed me that I had weeks left to live due to the fast spreading malignant tumor in my ovaries.
My final wish in life is for you to use the donation to fund a Cancer Research to fight cancer women and children because money means nothing to the dead but you can use this donation to fund early detection and screenings in poor areas.
Please treat this as very urgent as i await your confirmation of your receipt of this noble offer by providing your telephone number, legal names and address.