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 phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "please endeavor to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "await your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- +447024095789 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Hart Green" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2010 10:46:01 -0700 (PDT)
11 Atherfiled Court, Borrodile Road,
London, sw14 2la
My name is Mr. Hart Green. I work in a bank here in
the United Kingdom. I decided to contact you due to the urgency of this transaction.
I am the account officer of a foreigner who died in an air crash along with his entire family in a forceful plane crash on Monday, 31 July,2000 @ 13:22gmt 14:22uk You can confirm this from the website below which was published on BBC
Since his death, none of his next-of-kin are alive to
make claims for this money as his heir, because they all died in the same accident, himself and his wife (May Their soul rest in peace). We cannot release the fund from his account unless someone applies for claim as the next-of-kin to the deceased as indicated in our Banking guidelines. Upon this discovery, I now seek your permission to have you stand as a next of kin to the deceased, as all documentations will be carefully worked out for the funds which amounts to (US$12,500,000. 00) to be released in your favor as the bonafide next of Kin to the deceased.
Please acknowledge receipt of this message in acceptance of our mutual business endeavor by furnishing me with the following information if you are interested.
1. Beneficiary full name/address.
2. Direct Telephone and fax numbers.
I shall be compensating you with US$4.5m on final conclusion of this Project for your assistance, while the balance US$8m shall be for me for investment Purposes.
If this proposal is acceptable by you, please endeavor to contact me
I await your urgent response.
Mr. Hart Green.