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:
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Julia Koch" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2021 19:59:30 +0300
Subject: Re: Dear beloved
I am Mrs. julia koch, I bring to you a humanitarian project I am involved in. With heavy sorrow in my heart, I should let you know that I have been diagnosed with esophageal cancer and a rare form of heart disease for the last 6 years and just a few weeks ago I was told by my doctor that I had little time left, which is why I have decided to contact you out of faith and hope. I know there would be some suspicion to this mail but I do plead with you to contact me for further details so as to erase any doubts and I promise you that you will not regret this.
Please get back to me for further details as I humbly await your response.
Mrs. Julia Koch