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)
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Paul Richard" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 2010 17:55:58 +0200
Subject: FROM: Mr. Paul Richard Urgent?
FROM: Mr. Paul Richard.
PHONE: 00 27-834-022-388.
I am Mr. Paul Richard. In charge of Credit and Foreign bills of my Bank, AMALGAMATED BANK OF SOUTHAFRICA (ABSA), I know this proposal will come to you as a surprise but I can assure you that you will not regret of been part of this mutual beneficial transaction
Mr. Jeff Norman from Canada executed a contract through department Ministry of Aviation here in South Africa, the contract worth of US$9,300,000. (Nine Million, Three Hundred Thousand United States Dollars), but on the process of approving the transfer of the money to him, he died in tsunami disaster that happened in Asia. I have resolved to authenticate this claim and transfer the fund to your designated bank account as his next of kin if you agree to this deal.
Meanwhile, his fund has been assigned for payment in my office before his death I will give order to the bank for final endorsement of his fund. Nobody knows what is going on except me and my assistance. Some details of this fund are below:
Contract sum: of USD9, 300,000 Million Dollars
Contract number: FMA/FMF/3-X02/2004
You will act as the beneficiary of this money and I will give you more information about the transaction as soon as I hear from you.
I await your urgent reply.
Mr. Paul Richard.
NB don't forget to include your direct telephone/fax number