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 beloved," (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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Maya Luis" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 10 Oct 2020 10:30:23 -0500
I know it will be a great surprise reading from me today but consider
this a divine intervention. My name is Mrs. Maya Luis, a widow from
Madrid Spain. I am presently writing to you from my sickbed because I
have been fighting cancer and the doctor says I have a few weeks left.
I want to entrust my money $5.5 million dollars to your care for charity
purposes and crave your indulgence as a concerned individual to help use
my money for charity and also assist the poor and less privileged in
the society, so reply me for more information as I'm not always online
due to my health. My late husband's brother wants me dead so that he
will claim all my late husband and I worked for.
I will tell you more about myself and what you need to do with the money
once you receive it. Give me your word that you will not betray my trust
so that I furnish you with more details about the Charity Funds. Please
reply now as my health is pretty bad, It's urgent and very important you
keep this email confidential.
Mrs. Maya Luis.