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:
- "offshore account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a "dying merchant" scam.
- 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: "Kunio Uematsu" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 25 Aug 2020 01:09:24 -0700
Subject: DEAREST BELOVED, I AM WAITING FOR YOUR REPLY
As you read this mail I don't want you to feel sorry for me, because I believe everyone will die someday. I have been diagnosed with esophageal cancer that has defied all forms of medical treatment, and right now I have only a few months to live according to medical experts. I have willed and given most of my property and assets to my immediate and extended family members. I have decided to give also to charity as I want this to be one of the last good deeds I do on earth. Now that my health has deteriorated so badly, I cannot do this myself anymore. I once asked members of my family to close one of my accounts and distribute the money which I have there to charity organization in Europe; they refused and kept the money to themselves. Hence, I do not trust them anymore, as they seem not to be contended with what I have left for them.
The last of my money which no one knows of is the sum of US$45 Million that I deposited in an offshore account. I want you to help me collect these deposited funds and use it for charity and humanitarian works. You shall only collect 25% of the funds for your reward and also any expenses that you might incur during this great task. Please reply me. Regards, Kunio Uematsu (Japan) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org