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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- This email message is a next of kin 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: "Mrs. Bruno" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 1 Oct 2017 05:13:19 -0400
Subject: RE: BIZ ATTENTION
I am glad to take the chance to introduce my self to you.
I am Mrs. Cristina Bruno, the Administrative Manager at
financial and security vault of Institute here in Spain.
I am contacting you based on a financial opportunity I
discovered here in our Bank. It's about an abandoned sum
of $12.3M United States Dollars only, that belongs to one
of our foreign investor, a citizen of People's Republic of
China (PRC) that shares the same surname with you who died
along with his wife and two daughters aged 12 and 9, during
his vacation by a fatal bus accident on Monday May 7, 2007
has killed 17 people and injured 25 in southwest China's
Since then, I have made several inquiries to your embassy
here to locate any of our clients extended relatives, this
has also proved unsuccessful. This man has been living in
Madrid Spain for more than 18 years without returning to
I am contacting you to help/assist in repatriating the
funds valued at $12.3M United States Dollars left behind
by our deceased client to you before it gets confiscated
or declared unserviceable by the Spanish Government due
to the Economics crisis here in the country.
I assure you that this transaction/deal is risk free and
its success is 100% guaranteed, I am prepared to compensate
you with a 40% share of the total funds for your assistance,
and 10% will be mapped out to offset any expenses during the
transaction. The final details will be given upon receipt
an affirmation of your desire to assist me. For more
details contact me on my private email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs. Cristina Bruno