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:
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Robert Wallace." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2022 17:44:25 +0100
Subject: Re: Re: Urgent Respond Needed.
This is a personal email directed to you for your consideration alone.
I request that it remain and be treated as such only.
My name is Robert Wallace. I'm a Belgian/British Citizen an Attorney. I
have an interesting business proposal for you that will be of immense
benefit to both of us, although this may be hard for you to believe, we
stand to gain 9.7 Million Dollars between us in a matter of weeks. This is
fully legal and 100% genuine. I need you to signify your interest by
replying to my email. Most importantly, I need you to keep whatever
information between us confidential even if you decide not to go along with
me. I will make more details available to you on receipt of your positive