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:
- "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)
- "international 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 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "MR. JOSE ITIHER" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 2010 09:39:49 -0700
Subject: WE ARE SORRY FOR THE DELAY.
This is to officially notify you of the new development that after every investigation of your family inheritance we wish to bring to your notice that your fund ($44.8M USD) forty four million eight hundred thousand United States Dollars has been approved in your name.
Please, reconfirm the following data to avoid any error
(1) FULL NAMES
(2) PRESENT LOCATION
(5) MARITAL STATUS
(6) OFFICE ADDRES IF ANY
(7) VALID PHONE.FAX NUMBER FOR EASY COMMUNICATION AND A COPY OF ANYTHING THAT CAN BE USED TO ADENTIFY YOU.
You are to contact the head of international remittance department Mr. Edmond Wright on (email@example.com).
Adhere to this instruction to avoid any further delay.
Mr. Jose Itiher.