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.
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs. Stephanie Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 16 May 2021 06:04:08 -0700
Subject: Good Day
My Name is Mrs. Stephanie Smith from Brisbane Australia. I want
to entrust Charity Funds in your care but will let you know
reasons behind my action. I was married for 18 years with no
child until my husband passed away in 2012 in an accident. Before
his death we were both faithful Christians so i decided not to
remarry. I began managing the investments until i was diagnosed
of Cancer so could not manage it anymore hence sold all
properties and realized $5.9 M (USD). This money i want to use to
assist the less privileged and widows but will need your
assistance to reach out to them as my health has become a barrier
to my dreams. I await your response as soon as possible through
my private email: (email@example.com).
Mrs. Stephanie Smith