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:
- "huge amount of money" (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: John Okoji <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 10 Oct 2021 22:22:22 +0200
Subject: PERSONALLY TO YOU
I am an investment consultant, i have had the opportunity to consult
for some top government officials in my country. It is a widow of such
people that has mandated me to look out for a viable investment
opportunity in your country.
Her late husband was in the Finance Ministry and over the years made
some huge amount of money through over invoicing of contracts and now
he is dead and all assets discovered has been confiscated by the
present government except this $47M which was deposited in a finance
You will have 20% of the total sum and also be part of the investment
plan in your country. If you have any idea of a viable investment
please get back to me for more detailed modalities in this regard.