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 united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- 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: "Mr. Mark Radebe"<email@example.com> (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 14 Feb 2010 03:09:35 +0200
Attn: Sir/ Madam,
It is such a pleasure for me to contact you and with respect. I am a business consultant,privately working as a personal assistant to the First Chairman and Managing Director of Shell Petroleum South Africa (Pty) Ltd, Mr.John Drake.
Mr.John Drake, having handed over to his successor,mandated me to seek for a foreign partner who can help on transferring of fund out and also advice on possible investment.
I humbly ask for your assistance in securing of this fund into your company's account or private account to avoid been seized by our government. The sum is USD13M ( THIRTEEN MILLION UNITED STATE DOLLARS ONLY) and we will gladly compensate you with 20% after the deal is done. Presently, the fund in question is been concealed with Private Finance Firm.
I want to bring to your notice that a special arrangement has been made for the smooth conclusion of this transfer which the full details will be given to you as soon as you signify interest in helping us to finalize the deal. We got your contact through a business journal when we were making a research on a foreigner who will liaise with us in this great opportunity. It is our interest to channel the above mentioned fund in oil and gas drilling investment, first real estate mortgage or any other viable investment you may wish to advice upon.
Indicate your interest by responding through my private email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Waiting to hear your quick response.
Mr. Mark Radebe