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)
- "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)
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Gu Shu (Secretary to Board)"<firstname.lastname@example.org> (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 1 Feb 2010 12:47:24 +0800
Subject: RE: Funds to Invest in Your Country (Reply) Reminder
This is a Management Placement on behalf of a customer Mr. Kim Woo Choong.
Our client needs to urgently relocate his funds due to the economic crises and he is looking for an experienced business person or company that can receive and profitably invest the monies in excess of Thirty Nine Million US Dollars outside Asia. The sum will be paid from our bank; visit our bank website at
For more information contact:
Mr. Gu Shu [Secretary to Board].
Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (Asia) Limited
ICBC Tower 3 Garden Road, Central Hong Kong
Most importantly, you will be required to:
. Act as the original beneficiary of the funds.
. Receive the funds into a business/private bank account.
. Invest/Manage the funds profitably.
The Client is willing to pay 5% for your role as the beneficiary partner to the funds on the money has arrived your designated bank account. Also, a subsequent 10% as "Management Commission" will be paid for your advised investment services.
If you prefer to be re-contacted for more express information, please send us your:
 Full Names:
 Contact address:
 Cellphone and Direct Telephone No:
We expect your correspondence and our response will be swift.
Mr. Gu Shu [Secretary]
Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (Asia) Limited.