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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million dollars" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "back to me via my private e-mail" (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- 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: "W.B. Omar" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 26 Jun 2020 11:49:04 +0200
Good day dear friend,
I believe you will understand my view here, that's my reason for writing to you privately via electronic message to get your concept concerning my family. Maybe in subsequent mails I will explain more to you but please treat this as confidential even if you didn't want to help me.
I'm Mrs. Widad Babiker Omar the wife of the ousted Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir. You can view for your perusal: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-28196075 Please i would like you to help save my family's future by receiving the sum of USD17 Million dollars which i will want you to receive on behalf of my family for investment purposes and you will be rewarded for helping my family. Please it's risk free and not a hoax, you will have nothing to lose, what i need from you is your acceptance and readiness to help.
Please contact me back if you're interested to help my family so I can communicate with more needed updates and how to go about it. I want a reliable and honest individual that will help me handle this because it is my family future and only hope.
Please get back to me via my private e-mail: W.B.Omar@hotmail.com