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)
- "waiting for your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "can i trust you?" (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.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Maria Federico" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 16 May 2020 19:29:26 +0200
Subject: CHARITY DONATION
Dear friend, How are you? First and foremost, I apologized using this medium to reach you for a transaction of this magnitude,
but this is due to confidentiality and prompts Access reposed on this medium. It is a delight to have your esteemed contact,
can I trust you? I am sick widow, I lost my husband two years ago and ever since I have been diagnosed with cancer,
during our married life we didn't have a child, I am taking treatment in a hospital here in Doha Qatar,
I'm seeking your help I want you to help me distribute my funds to charity organizations,
I cannot do it myself because of my health condition,
Please reply if you can help me distribute my funds and I am willing to give 20% of $38.5 MILLION for your time.
Waiting for your urgent response. please reply me directly to my email address: email@example.com