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)
- "million us 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)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: Tamara Williams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 8 Oct 2020 10:55:55 +0100
Subject: I NEED YOUR URGENT HELP
Greetings, I really wish to have you as my good friend and also wish to
entrust some funds into your care but I have already sent the fund out of
Afghanistan . I need your sincere and truthful friendship. My name is Sgt
Tamara Williams. I am serving as a Marine Corps in the United States of
America Camp Leatherneck Afghanistan.
I have $6.5 Million US dollars that I successfully moved out of the
country. I need a good partner, someone I can trust. It is oil business
money we did with Afghan citizens worth 42 million US dollars, but the 6.5
million US Dollars stated is my share on the business and its legal. I have
successfully moved the funds out of Afghanistan as family valuables with
help of Universal Morgan Trust security Company through their branch in the
The most important thing is ''' Can I Trust You? Once the funds get to you,
you take your 30% out and keep my own 70%. Your own part of this deal is to
find a safe place where my part of the funds will be until I come and meet
with you for discussions on investment plans,but I have more interest in
real estate or any other profitable investment . If you are interested I
will furnish you with more details.
But the whole process is simple and we must keep a low profile at all times.
I look forward to your reply and co-operation, and I thank you in advance
as I anticipate your cooperation.
Sgt Tamara Williams