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:
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
Date: 04 Dec 2019 08:10:51 -0800
I hope this email meets you well. I am sure you are surprised to
get this email. I got your information online after running a
background check on you and I see you are someone I can trust.
My name is Staff Sergeant Marie Pantoja of the United States
Marines Corps. I have been in Afghanistan for the past 1 year and
alot of bad things is happening here and still happening. I
embarked on a very dangerous mission some weeks ago and saved a
man who was kidnapped by a terrorist group with his family. He
happened to be a very wealthy man. I risked my life to save his
daughter and helped him get out of the country on asylum.
He left me with a precious gift of 33 gold bars worth about one
million, fundred thousand u.s dollars. I will need your help to
ship this gold out. I am willing to share the gold proceits, 60,
40 with you. I will take 60 percent and give you 40 percent after
we get it shipped to you and sell it.
This transaction is to be kept top secret. I had to contact you
to help me or I could end up loosing this gold if i dont ship it
out immediately. This transaction is
all legal, risk free and all documents to backup the gold is
available. All I will need is your consent to have the gold
shipped to you and once am out of here, I can meet you up so that
we can sell off the gold.
I will give you more details once I get a positive response from
Thanks and I await your response.
Ssgt Marie Pantoja