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:
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Sophia Norman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 6 May 2021 12:41:09 -0700
Subject: Distance is not barrier (My Will)
Do accept my sincere apologies if my mail does not meet your personal
ethics, also hope that you are and your family are safe from the
deadly covid 19 pandemic? I know that this mail will come to you as a
surprise, but please do not be discouraged with my proposal it was due
to how things are moving. However, this correspondence is unofficial
and private, and it should be treated as such.
At first I will like to assure you that this transaction is 100% risk
and trouble free to both parties.I am writing this letter to you with
many tears My eyes and heart ache. As I say to you, I am Joy Tittus,
aged 58,an aging widow suffering from long time illness I have the sum
of $17.5M Dollars For you to use the fund for Godâs work.Please if you
would be able to use the funds for the Lordâs work,reply
Yours in the Lord