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:
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: Terry Cole <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Terry Cole <email@example.com>
Date: 17 Jun 2022 16:58:18 +0200
Subject: Your Immediate Attention is Required
My name is Terry Cole, I'm a legal counsel.
I'm sure others must have tried to contact you earlier,
but I assure you of a better representation, and trust of full
I want you to stand as a next of kin to a late
client for an Inheritance payment worth US$9,700,000 which will
be 100% yours. Reply to my
email for more details, Its very urgent and we need to act fast
and enjoy full benefits.
I would appreciate your quick response.