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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "million 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)
- "can i trust you?" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "diplomatic immunity" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "diplomatic courier" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "owen john" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 2010 15:42:35 +0200
Subject: From Sgt. John Owen, Please Get Back To Me Urgently
GREATINGS TO YOU,
My name is Sgt. Owen John, I am an American soldier, I am serving in the military of the 1st Armored Division in Iraq, as you know we are being attacked by insurgents everyday and car bombs. We managed to move funds belonging to Saddam Husseins family. The total amount is US$25 Million dollars in cash, mostly 100 dollar bills. We want to move this money to you, so that you may invest it for us and keep our share for banking. You can go to this web link to read about events that took place there: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2988455.stm
we will take 70%, my partner and I. You take the other 30%. No strings attached, just help us move it out of Iraq , Iraq is a war zone. We plan on using diplomatic courier and shipping the money out in one large silver box, using diplomatic immunity. If you are interested I will send you the full details, my job is to find a good partner that we can trust and that will assist us. Can I trust you? When you receive this letter, kindly send me an e-mail signifying your interest including your most confidential telephone/fax numbers for quick communication also your contact details. This business is risk free. The box can be shipped out in 48hours.
Sgt. Owen John