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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned 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)
- details reply back only through any of these below emails: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com thanks, mr.john (Gmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.John Johnson" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 17 May 2018 21:48:05 +0800
Subject: GOOD NEWS AND REPLY BACK !
I am Mr.John Johnson a banker, and an account officer to late MR.PHILIP SANDHOFF who died with his entire family in the ill- fated plane crash involving a UTA Boeing 727 Chartered Flight that took off from Cotonou Benin Republic and crashed into Atlantic Ocean on Thursday 25th December 2003.
He was an Importer of Textiles and Automobiles for the past Thirteen years,and made a numbered time (Fixed) Deposit for twelve calendar months in our bank that worth US$70M(SEVENTY MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS ONLY).
I need your assistance to transfer to your country for our sharing the money he left in different local and foreign bank accounts before his death.
PLEASE FOR FULL DETAILS REPLY BACK ONLY THROUGH ANY OF THESE BELOW EMAILS: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com