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.
- 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: Edward Buffett <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2021 01:45:22 -0700
My name is Warren Edward Buffett, A philanthropist, the chairman and
CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, one of the largest private foundations in
the world. Having pledged to give away 99 percent of my fortune to
philanthropic causes via the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. I
founded the giving pledge in 2009 with Bill Gates, whereby
billionaires pledge to give away at least half of their fortunes. I
believe strongly in giving while living and I had one idea that never
left in my mind that you should use your wealth to help people and I
have decided to give Four Million Eight Hundred Thousand Dollars to
randomly selected individuals worldwide to help Citizens fight against
On receipt of this email, you should count yourself as one of the
lucky individuals. Your email was chosen online while searching for
random. Kindly get back to me at your earliest convenience so I know
your email is still valid: email@example.com
Warren Edward Buffett
American business magnate
CEO Berkshire Hathaway