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:
- "dear friend" (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.
- 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: Angela Edward <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 9 Apr 2022 14:46:11 +0200
Subject: HELLO BELOVED
My Dear Friend,
I don't really know who you are, but I hope that peace is with you as you
read this letter. My intuition tells me that I can trust you with my
proposition. I received your contact through my email directory and my
inner voice suggested that I send this money to you. I am a widow and a
devoted Christian. My name is Mrs. Angela Edward and I am from the United
States. Since my husband died, I have been suffering from arthritis. Just
this summer, my doctor has diagnosed me with terminal cancer. I have
approximately twelve months to live. I am currently confined to a
wheelchair, and am being cared for by a nurse.
Before my husband died, he left me a large sum of money, to the tune of
$10.6m Dollars. He made me promise that it should be used for humanitarian
work. We have no children, you see, and my husband didn't want his brother
to inherit it. This money is currently being held by the bank, awaiting the
proper recipient. It is up to me to decide who will gain access to it. If
you promise me that you will use this money to achieve the wish of my
Husband and I, then I will instruct the bank to release the contents of the
vault in your name.
If you agree to use the money for humanitarian purposes, I will need the
following information from you:
Your full name, contact address, occupation, age, and phone number.
God bless you as you walk in the light and glory. Please kindly send your
reply to my
private email address:( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Yours in Vineyard,
Mrs. Angela Edward.