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:
- "million united states 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)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "John Savage" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 20 Dec 2020 13:06:26 -0800
Subject: I look forward to hearing from you"
Below is the email: email@example.com I sent to you.
I am so sorry for sending you this unsolicited and unexpected email.
I actually got your contact from your country website and l decided to contact you directly about this business venture.
I am contacting you in good faith and this business investment proposal will be of mutual benefit for us. I have a business proposal
in huge sum amount of (Eight Hundred & Twenty Million United States Dollars} to be transferred to any safe account with your assistance.
Contact me back via my email if you are interested in this business investment proposal and if you can be trusted for further briefing and
I look forward to hearing from you.