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:
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "waiting for your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "abidjan" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Philomena Kenneth" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 29 Jul 2019 19:36:24 -0700
Subject: Your help is needed please treat urgent.
I am quite aware that my message will come to you as a surprise because we have not meet or know each
other before, but I humble myself and use this opportunity to express myself to you. Please take me as your
own daughter or your sister, Im really dedicated to know you. My name is Philomena Kenneth, from Abidjan
Ivory Coast. I am 19 years old girl and an orphan as a result of the sudden death of my parents.
I am contacting you for assistance to help me get my inherited money transferred to your bank account in your
country so that I will come over to your country and continue my education in your country so that would
earn the parental care and legal guardians from you. The parental care that have been depriving from me
since after the death of my parents because I have been humiliated and suppressed by my father immediate
I am willing to offer you 20% from the money as a mood of compensation for your help to me. I am anxiously
waiting for your urgent response so that I will give you more information about me and the fund, to enable
us to forge ahead and transfer the fund into your bank account as I desired.
Waiting for your response.
May God bless and guide us.