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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Aisha Al-Qaddafia <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 15 Sep 2021 10:22:15 +0200
Subject: Dear Friend ,
Dear Friend ,
I came across your e-mail contact prior a private search while in need of
your assistance. My name is Aisha Al-Qaddafi a single Mother and a Widow
with three Children. I am the only biological Daughter of late Libyan
President (Late Colonel Muammar Gaddafi).
I have investment funds worth Twenty Seven Million Five Hundred Thousand
United State Dollar ($27.500.000.00 ) and i need a trusted investment
Manager/Partner because of my current refugee status, however, I am
interested in you for investment project assistance in your country, may be
from there, we can build business relationship in the nearest future.
I am willing to negotiate investment/business profit sharing ratio with you
base on the future investment earning profits. If you are willing to handle
this project on my behalf kindly reply urgent
to enable me provide you more information about the investment funds.
Your Urgent Reply Will Be Appreciated. write me at this email address(
firstname.lastname@example.org) for further discussion.
Mrs Aisha Al-Qaddafia