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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- 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)
- "can i trust you?" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "diplomatic immunity" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "SGT.SCOTT WHITTINGTON"<email@example.com> (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 18 Aug 2009 14:19:30 +0200
Subject: CAN I TRUST YOU!
My name is Scott Whittington, I am an American soldier, I am serving in the military with the 1st Armored Division in Iraq , as you know we are being attacked by insurgents everyday and car bombs.We managed to move part of funds belonging to Saddam Hussein's family in 2003.
The total amount is US$12 Million dollars in cash, mostly 100 dollar bills,this money has been kept somewhere outside Baghdad for some time but with the proposed troop in increase by president Barrack Obama, to end the suicide bombing and make peace with Iraq militant and terrorist ,we are afraid that the money may be discovered hence we want to move this money to you for safekeeping pending the completion of our assignment here.
READ THIS WEBSITE VERY WELL AND GET BACK TO ME.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2988455.stm We are ready to compensate you with good percentage of the funds, No strings attached, Iraq is a war zone, we plan on using diplomatic means to ship the money out as military cargo to your home, under diplomatic immunity cover.
I am contacting you in confidence, all arrangement for the successful delivery has been put in place, all we need from you is to receive the cargo from the diplomat, If you are interested I will send you the full details, my job is to find a good partner that we can trust and that will assist us. Can I trust you? When you receive this letter, kindly send me an e-mail signifying your interest.
Alternative Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sgt. Scott Whittington