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:
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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: Mrs Tan Ruby <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 26 Dec 2021 23:37:42 -0800
Subject: Dear friend
How are you?
It is with great pleasure,my name is Tan Ruby I am a cancer
Patient and the disease have taken over my entire system according to
medical diagnosis and I want to donate my inheritance fund
($3,000,000.00) that my late husband deposited with a Financial
Institution here to you because recently, the doctor told me that I
might not survive the latest Surgery which I have been booked for.
I want you to use 20% of the fund to build orphanage homes in
while 20% goes to cancer charities and then donate 30% to institutions
housing elderly and retired persons who bore no children in their life
time just like I and my late husband. The remaining 30% goes to you as
the person who agreed to carry out my last wish and I will give you
In closing, I thank you for the opportunity to express my
concerns. Please, in making your decision, consider the needs of all
that i have said.