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:
- "with your full names" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "you will be entitled to 30%" (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)
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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: "JEAN LAWSON (ESQ)" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 11 Oct 2009 22:24:27 +0200
Subject: WORK WITH ME
I am writing to notify you of the unclaimed inheritance deposit of our late client, Engineer Christian Eich of Germany, who unfortunately lost his life on July 31, 2000 in the Airline Flight AF4590 crash.
During my search for the relatives and next of kin to the deceased, I got your email address through a web search engine in my quest to get a reliable individual who shall work with me in claiming this inheritance deposit of Eighteen Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars (US$18.500.000.00), since all efforts to get the biological relative has proved abortive.
Under a clear and legitimate agreement with you, I now seek your permission to have you stand as a next of kin to my deceased client, as all documentations will be carefully worked out by me for the funds to be released in your favour as the beneficiary's next of kin. I don't want the money to go into the Bank treasury as an abandoned fund, so this is the reason why I contacted you.
By presenting you as the next of kin to the deceased. You will be entitled to 30% of the total sum for your assistance and 70% for me to invest in your country. This transaction is very confidential and 100% risk free and shall be executed under legitimate and legal procedures that will protect you from any breach of the Law.
If my proposal interests you, Please get back to me thorough my private email address (email@example.com) or (firstname.lastname@example.org ) with your full Names, Address, Telephone and Fax numbers, Age, Occupation and Country of Origin, for more information on the procedure and legality of this claim.
(Attorney at Law)