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:
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- 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: Sgt Mercy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2021 09:57:34 +0800
Subject: God bless you
My Name is Sgt Mercy W. Francis, I hope all is well with you? I am a
soldier working as United Nations peace keeping troop in Iraq, on war
against terrorism.I see you as a matured and responsible man which
motivated me to get in contact with you
I have in my possession the sum of $9.6 millions USD Which i made here
in Iraq. I deposited this money with a Red Cross agent because of the
law. I want you to stand as my beneficiary to receive the fund and
keep it safe because I don't trust the Red Cross agent. I want you to
help me and keep the money saved in your account so that as soon as I
am through with my mission here in Iraq, I will come over to you for
us to meet face to face and get to know each other. I will give you
50% of the total money for your assistance after you have received the
money. Please reply back to me if you are willing to work with me so
that I can send you more information where the money is kept by the
Red Cross Agent.
Your urgent reply is highly needed, email@example.com