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)
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr Johnson Adrien" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 04 Apr 2019 13:24:36 +0100
I am an Agent to an investor who wants to establish and operate a very
viable business as a means of investment abroad in a stable political
and business environment. I have been mandated to source for a
trustworthy and reliable person in a safe country like yours for
His preference is any good lucrative business and he would appreciate
any valuable ideas you could come up with. He will also need you to
help him look for investment opportunities like properties including
homes, lands for sale or any kind of profitable investment plan you
have, as he is proposing to invest the sum of Fifty Million United
States Dollars ($50,000,000 US D) for a start. I hope you can and will
be of assistance in this regards, as I know we will both benefit from
I will be waiting for your response at your own convenience if you are
Yours truly, ( email@example.com )
Mr Johnson Adrien