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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "a security company " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "huge amount of money" (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)
- "consignment " (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)
- "million united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "transaction is risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "diplomatic courier" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Anna Bodgan" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 2010 08:34:39 -0700
My name is Anna Bogdan, 24 yrs old Girl, I need your help so that I can be able to claim my late mother consignment which she deposited in security company here in Accra Ghana, my father is black man and my mother white, my mum was in the US Army under the United Nation, military of the 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq before she die. she deposited two truck metal boxes in a security company in Africa a small country called Ghana, One of the Box contain $10.5 Million United State Dollars and the other 24 karat of Gold bar (200 kg) she was among the arm who found some huge amount of money belonging to late Saddam Hussein, my mother was able to move this two boxes via a safe Diplomatic Courier Service to a secured security company in Ghana, Click on this link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2988455.stm
Basically since she was working for the American government she cannot keep these funds the reason why she moved it to Ghana, This business is confidential, and I plead that it should not be discussed with anyone. There is no risk whatsoever involved as she left this funds in the Security Company without declaring its contents for this period of time to make sure that the fund will be safe for transfer and investment. If you are interested I will send you the full details such as Certificate of Origin of the Boxes, Certificate of Ownership and Contract Bond of the security company given to my mum on the day of keeping, my job is to find a good partner that I can trust and will assist me .kindly send me an e-mail signifying your interest including your telephone/fax numbers for quick communication and also your contact details and i will get you in touch with the security company contact details. I assure you that this transaction is risk free and its success is 100% guaranteed If you can help me I will offer