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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "with your full names" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "INFO" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 2021 14:40:28 -0700
It might be a surprise to you reading from me again as I had written an earlier email to you but without a response. Presently, I'm in the hospital where I am undergoing treatment for Esophageal Cancer. I am Mrs. Felicia spéro, widow to late Maurientes spéro, former deputy defense attaché to Benin consulate in the Czech Republic. My husband was killed by those who were envious of his position in the same office.
But before his death, he vowed to use his wealth for the orphanages and elderly persons who are less privileged. I have decided to donate this money to an individual, who will utilize it to fulfill the last request of my late husband, which is why I contacted you. Reply with your full names, phone number, address, and occupation so that I will give you more details.
Mrs. Felicia spéro