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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Stephanie Smith" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 26 Dec 2021 00:22:42 -0800
Subject: Attention: Dear Beneficiary
Dearest good friend,
May the peace of God be with you and your family. I know it will be a
great surprise reading from me today but consider this a divine
intervention as a pastor explained to me. My name is Mrs. Stephanie
Smith, a widow from Oklahoma USA, married to a REPUBLIC of NIGERIA and
am writing to you from my sick bed because I have been fighting cancer
and the doctors say I have only a few weeks left. I want to entrust my
money ($8.5 million USD) to your care for charity purposes to help the
less privileged as my late husband's relatives want me dead so that
they will claim all my late husband and I worked for.
I will tell you more about myself and what you need to do with the
money once you receive it. Please write to me soon as my health is
pretty bad and my doctors say I will be moved to the intensive care
unit anytime soon. Have a blessed day and please do pray for me. God
Mrs. Stephanie Smith