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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "huge sum 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)
- "million us 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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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. David De Ansha"<email@example.com> (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2010 18:37:46 -0700
Subject: MY INQUIRY IS FROM SAO TOME
From: Mr. David De Ansha
Central Bank Sao Tome
Yon Gato Central Square ,
P.O. Box 13, Sao Tome & Principe
I am Mr. David De Ansha, the accounting officer-in charge of the Private
investment section of the above named bank. I have decided to contact you
on a business Transfer that requires confidentiality, Trust and
transparency, where both of us have a lot to Benefit, during my
investigation and auditing in the Accounts section, my department came
across a huge sum of money Belonging to a deceased person who is a
foreigner who died On January 7, 2005 in an auto crash.
The said amount is ($21 million US Dollars) As it might interest you to
know, I got your contact Through international business enquiry and my
search for a trust worthy business Partner that can handle a business of
this magnitude Meanwhile all arrangement to put claim to this fund in Your
name as the next of kin to the deceased, And get the required approval to
transfer this money To a foreign account, has been put in place.
While the next line of action to conclude this transaction in the next 10
working days, Will be relayed to you as Soon as you indicate your interest
in this Transaction.
Mr. David De Ansha