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:
- "might come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million us 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: "Michael Smith" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2019 05:26:15 -0500
Subject: I await your response.
Good-day to you.
My name is Michael Smith. I am an independent financial consultant
living in London UK.I got your email contact in my search for a
reliable and competent company or individual to form partnership in
the area of investment. I know that this email might come to you as a
surprise because we neither know each other nor have ever met each
other, but please accept it with an open and positive mind.
We want to partner with you to receive and place an investment fund
worth US$670,000,000.00 (Six Hundred and Seventy Million US Dollars)
into viable business ventures in your country that can guarantee a
good return on investment which will be under your control and
management. Details of the investment and the source of the fund will
be furnished to you when I receive your response which will also
facilitate a face to face meeting with the investor.
I await your response.