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:
- "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)
- "my names are " (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.
- 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: "Mr. Prince Okons" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 09 May 2021 13:26:51 -0700
Subject: PLEASE GET BACK TO ME
How are you and your family today? My names are Master Prince Okon's, I have packaged a transaction that will be of mutual benefit to both of us. My family need your assisttance to transfer and invest the sum of USD$45.5 Million dollars ( Forty five Million Five Hundred United States Dollars ).
my late father deposited in a bank here before his sudden death.
My father died early this year when he contracted corona virus (
covid-19 in Germany in a search for foreign investor. He died few
weeks he returned from Germany.
I and my mother want this funds to be transfer and invest in your
country through your assistance and directive,my father when he was
alive warn us not to invest this funds in Africa due to tribal and
economic crises.We shall give you 30% of this funds for assisting us.
This funds transaction is 100% genuine, legal and free risk.there is
nothing to fear.
Please get back to me through this email: email@example.com , more details