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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "MRS JOAN GATES" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 3 Mar 2020 09:49:50 -0800
Subject: DEAR BELOVED FRIIEND URGENT RESPONSE
PLEASE ACCEPT MY UNRESERVED APOLOGY IF THIS SHORT HUMANITARIAN
PROPOSITION OFFENDS YOUR SENSITIVITY. I INTEND NO INSULT OR HARM. MY
NAMES IS MRS. JOAN GATES UNITED KINGDOM, 69 YEARS OLD.
I HAVE A PROPOSITION WHICH I AM CONVINCED WITHIN ME THAT YOU CAN
HANDLE IT.DEPOSITED THE SUM OF $5.5M. (FIVE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED
THOUSAND U.S. DOLLARS) WANT A PERSON WHO IS TRUSTWORTHY THAT I WILL
MAKE THE BENEFICIARY
OF MY LATE HUSBAND'S FUND DEPOSITED WITH THE BANK SO THAT THE PERSON
CAN GET THE MONEY AND UTILIZE 70% OF THIS MONEY TO FUND CHURCHES,
ORPHANAGES AND WIDOWS AROUND THE WORLD AND KEEP THE REMAINING 30% FOR
I AM CHRISTIAN AND WOULD LOVE TO REACH OUT TO THOSE IN NEED BUT I NEED
YOUR HELP SINCE I AM NOT TOTALLY STRONG TO SUSTAIN THE STRESS AND
HANDLE THE PROCESS OF THIS PROJECT HENCE I AM HONESTLY SOLICITING FOR
YOUR HELP BELIEVING THAT BY THE MERCY OF GOD, YOU WILL NOT DECLINE MY
I WILL GIVE YOU MORE DETAILS AS SOON AS I READ FROM YOU WITH THE
FOLLOWING PARTICULARS. DO REPLY ME THROUGH THIS E-MAIL
YOUR FULL NAME
YOUR CONTACT ADDRESS
MRS. JOAN GATES