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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "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)
- "await your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "foreign remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- 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.
- email@example.com (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Musa" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 1 Apr 2010 10:32:50 +0200
Subject: Dear Sir/Madam
I am Mr Ali Musa from Burkina Faso . I want to seek your assistance after my discovery during auditing in my bank as am the manager of Bill and Exchange
at the Foreign Remittance Department of BANK OF AFRICA,(B.O.A.) In my department I discovered an abandoned sum of USD$27 million US dollars in an account
that belongs to one of our foreign customers who died along with his entire family in plane Crash,
Since his death, we have been expecting his next of Kin to come over and claim his money because we can't release it unless somebody applies for it as
his next of Kin, please I want you to stand for me as his next of kin so that the bank will transfer the fund into your account then I will come over
to meet you in your country for my own share, do not view this as been illegal but an opportunity as await your urgent response to enable me give you
more details. please reply with those information's below so that I can know you very well before I go ahead with you, If you are not interested please
delete it.as follows.that you will have 40% of the above mentioned sum while 50% will be for me, and the other 10% will
be for the expences site to know more.http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/africa/07/20/kenya.crash/
1. Your Full Names/Company name and Address
2. Direct Telephone and fax Numbers.
Expecting to hear from you.
Mr Ali Musa