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 us 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)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- 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: "Mrs. Rachel Watson" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2023 22:09:53 +0100
Subject: MY WISH TO HELP!!
My name is Mrs. Rachel Watson. I am 75 years of age from the USA. I am a good merchant; I have several industrial companies and good shares in various banks in the world.
I spend all my life on investment and corporate business. Along the way I lost my husband and two beautiful kids in a fatal accident that occurred in November 2015. Ever since I lost my family, it's been difficult to sleep or get enough rest. Later in the year 2019 February I was sent a diagnosis letter after a medical checkup, confirming from my personal doctor that I have lung cancer, which can easily end my life as soon as possible.
I want to establish on people who need money to invest in their various businesses or companies and helping orphanages and to support the COVID-19 fight. That is why i release the sum of $15.7MILLION US DOLLARS TO set up this Charity Investment Project Assignment.
IF YOU NEED FINANCIAL HELP, CONTACT me, I am READY TO HELP YOUR BUSINESS.
Email ME: email@example.com
Best Remain Blessed,
Mrs. Rachel Watson