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)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
- 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: Mrs Theresa Coleman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 2 May 2019 14:32:48 +0200
Subject: YOU ASSISTANCE IS NEEDED..
I am Mrs. Theresa Coleman, 61 years old, deaf and a widow. I was married to late Engr Howard Coleman ,who worked with Shell Development Company in London for Twenty-Six years before he died in the year 2007 after a brief illness that lasted only five days.
When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of US$10 M in a firm here. Following my ill health(Cancer of the Lungs), my Doctor told me that I may not live longer than required due to my health condition. I am looking forward to seeing someone who can use this money in charitable works.
More details will be made known to you upon your response.
Contact me via my email: email@example.com