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:
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Shaw <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 2021 17:52:29 -0700
Subject: VERY IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR THE POOR ONES AROUND YOU!
Hello my beloved in the Lord!
My name is Mrs. Cecilia U. Shaw, I am a dying woman who decided to
donate what I have to Charity Home. I am 78 years old and I was
diagnosed with cancer about four years ago, immediately after my
husband's death; I was moved to donate what I inherited from my late
husband for the good work.
As am writing this message from my sick bed, I want you to help me
fulfill my last wish on earth that will be very profitable for you and
your lovely family. I want to RETURN a total sum of $ 5.5 million that
I want you to distribute part of it to any charity home for me and the
rest for you and your family, will inform you on how to share
everything, please for more information, contact me ASAP.
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Please be honest
Mrs. Cecilia U. Shaw.