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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million dollars" (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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "100% hitch free" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Elizabeth Edward" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2021 06:35:32 +0100
Subject: REPLY ME URGENTLY
My Dear Friend,
Please forgive me for stressing you with my predicaments and am sorry
to approach you through this media, it is because it serves the
fastest means of communication. I came across your E-mail from my
personal search and I decided to contact you believing you will be
honest to fulfill my final wish before I die.
I am Mrs. Elizabeth Edward, 63 years, from USA, I am childless and I
am suffering from a pro-long critical cancer, my doctors confirmed I
may not live beyond two months from now as my ill health has defiled
all forms of medical treatment. Since my days are numbered, Iâve
decided, willingly to fulfill my long-time promise to donate you the
sum ($5.000.000.00) million dollars I inherited from my late husband
Mr. Edward Herbart, foreign bank account over years. I need a very
honest person who can assist in transfer of this money to his or her
account and use the funds for charities work of God while you use 50%
for yourself. I want you to know there are no risks involved; it is
100% hitch free & safe. If you
will be interesting to assist in getting this fund into your account
for charity project to fulfill my promise before I die please let me
know immediately. I will appreciate your utmost confidentiality as I
wait for your reply.
Mrs. Elizabeth Edward.