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:
- "trunk box" (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.
- 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: "Tonia Murhaf" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2018 02:50:01 +0200
I am Mrs. Tonia Murhaf. A Syrian woman. I desire to relocate to your country due to the prolonged civil unrest/war in Syria, as well as the daily life-threatening attacks by ISIS terrorist group. I've already lost my family, my husband and son to the cold hands of death during an attack targeted at our home on March 23, 2017, to end our family. I and my daughter were not around during the cross fire. we were at the hospital for checkup when the attacked our home killing my beloved husband and my son and setting the house ablaze. I am in tears writing you this mail. He (my late husband) was a very successful contractor in the oil city of Syria and was privately dealing on gold dust business before his untimely death.
My husband left behind some reasonable amount of money, which I desire to invest in the Real Estate sector, Travel & Tourism, Hotel Management and other interesting sectors in your country.
As you may or may not know, the sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union have made it nearly impossible to successfully operate any type of investment here in Syria or to even transfer money from here to other parts of the world. For this reason, I am contacting you in great confidence with the hope that you could help me get this money into your country for investment purposes:
Please I would like to know how convenient it might be for you to assist me in this way. The entire capital at my disposal is 6,400,000 dollars (Six million four hundred thousand dollars. I secretly locked up the money in a trunk box and deposited it with the Red Cross here in Damascus. My sincere intention in writing you is to plead with you to kindly accept the money box. This is because we cannot do any bank transfers from here following the war. These are the major issues of concern to me now. I will give you 30% of the total money as your benefit for helping me.
I have to take this chance because I have no other alternative but to trust somebody. I cannot risk my life here to avoid an end to my family lineage. As a woman, since my husband and son are dead, all I have is my only daughter. she deserves a decent life since I want her to grow up in a peaceful environment. I will relocate to your country with my daughter and invest the money in accordance with your country law, your advice and support; we can work together and achieve.
Email me here on my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
I anticipate your positive response and on receipt of your information I will provide you with further details.