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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "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)
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Mary Johnson." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2022 15:47:42 +0100
Subject: DEAR FRIEND
I know it will be a great surprise reading from me today but consider
this a divine intervention. My name is Mrs. Mary Johnson, a widow from
Milwaukee, WI 53204. I am presently writing you from my sickbed
because i have been fighting cancer and the doctor says i have a few
weeks left. I want to entrust my money $8.5 million dollars to your
care for charity purposes and crave your indulgence as a concerned
individual to help use my money for charity and also assist the poor
with less privileged in the society so reply to my private email
(email@example.com) for more information as I'm not always
online due to my health and my late husband's brother wants me dead so
that he 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 your receive it. Give me your word that you will not betray
my trust so that i furnish you with more details about the Charity
Funds. Please reply now as my health is pretty bad, Itâs urgent and
very important you keep this email confidential.
Have a blessed day and do not forget to pray for me.
Mrs. Mary Johnson