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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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: "Major Sean McFarland." (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 17 May 2018 14:19:10 -0600
My name is Major Sean MacFarland . I am an American soldier, presently in Afghanistan for the training, advising the Afghan forces and also helping in stabilizing the country against security challenges. With a very desperate need for assistance, I have decided to contact you for your kind assistance to move the sum of (US$38,000,000.00) Thirty eight Million United States Dollars to you if I can be assured that my share will be safe in your care until I complete my service.
Some money in various currencies was discovered in boxes at a farmhouse during a rescue operation we conducted in one of the attacks by ISIS, and it was agreed by my colleagues and I that some part of this money be shared among us before informing anybody about it. The above figure was given to me as my share, and to conceal this kind of money became a problem for me, so with the help of a British doctor working with Red Cross, I was able to get the package out to a safe location entirely out of trouble spot. he does not know the real content of the package, and believes that it belongs to a British /American medical doctor who died in a raid here in Afghanistan, and before giving up, trusted me to hand over the package to his Family.
I have now found a much secured way of getting the package out of Iraq to you for pick up, and I will discuss this with you when I am sure that you are willing to assist me. I am ready to compensate you with 30% of the $38 million USD for your assistance.
I do not know how long we will remain here, and I have been shot, wounded and survived two suicide bomb attacks by the special grace of God, this and other reasons I will mention later has prompted me to reach out for help.
Please contact me as soon as possible with the following details:
God Bless you as I look forward to your positive response.
Major Sean MacFarland