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:
- "million dollars" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Hilda Benson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 5 Aug 2021 16:58:24 +0000
Subject: Hello Dear,
My name is Mrs Hilda Benson.I am seriously suffering from a long time
cancer of the breast.Last week, my doctor told me that he has tried
his best to save my life but to no avail.He told me that I may not
live beyond two months.Before the death of my husband,he deposited the
sum of $3.5 million Dollars in one of the commercial bank.
Because of the doctor's advise that i will not live beyond two
months,I have decided to give you this money as a donation for God's
work.You should distribute it among charity organizations such as the
motherless babies homes and the less privileged people in the society.
Write me back for more details as soon as you receive this message.