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:
- "confidentiality of this transaction" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "offshore account" (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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Barrister Amuaju Ohu <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 2010 10:24:08 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: I will like you to help me to invest.
I hope that I am not embarrassing you with this mail because you did not expect it or know me before. But kindly rest assured that I have irresistible urge to write it believe me, the mail is an indication of love for you and happiness I shall always wish you. I am 20 years old and the only Daughter and child of late parents.
My late father was a wealthy diamond and Gold dealer my mother died ten years ago and my father was poisoned to death by his political members, before his death my father told me that he made me the next of kin of a fund he deposited in his offshore account with a financial institution in Commonwealth of Dominica.
I have contacted the bank and confirm that my father really make me the next kin of the deposit, now I want you to assist me to transfer the money into your account in your country because the people that killed my father is after my life now to make sure that our family are drastically wiped off, infarct as I am writing to you now I am in hiding here please if you can help to save my life and transfer the fund to your account.
I am deeply interested to offer to you 25% from the total money that is involved for transferring it into your own designated account, again I will hand this money over to you to invest it for me wisely, as you know, this is the highest confidence and trust any person can repose on the other especially when it is considered that we did not know ourselves before then you are expected to display high degree of maturity , responsibility , and understanding in handling this information so that our family enemies will not know that I am around in getting me through your information.
The main aim of contact you are to assist me in three ways (1) to help and transfer the money to your country (2) and to help me get a profitable business for investment any where in overseas all is base on your professional advice and acceptance to assist me. (3)To help me have a stay in your country when I might come over to meet with you and continue my education (4) to help me manage whatever investment you will get for me until I finish my education.
I will give you every detail about the deposit for the transfer to carry on to your account. After you have indicated your interest and willingness to help me out of this problem to secure the money for a proper investment in your country. Please write to me as fast as to acknowledge this mail and thanks in anticipation. For the confidentiality of this transaction please strictly reply me.
Remain Bless In the Lord.