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:
- "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. )
- "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)
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "my direct telephone number" (a "direct line" in a scam usually means an untraceable mobile phone number used by a scammer in an internet cafe, a redirection service number that forwards to a mobile or a free voicemailbox in a different country.)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "MR BADUL SOWEDO" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 14 May 2010 05:11:12 +0100
Subject: I will appreciate your earliest response.
MR BADUL SOWEDO
NO 13 LEA ROAD SOUTHALL,
MIDDLEX LONDON, UK
My name is Mr. BADUL SOWEDO a personal assistance to the wife of the late president Omar Bongo, late president of republic of Gabon, who died 8th of June, 2009 in Barcelona, Spain.
Before his death he amassed a fortune, including 66 private bank account and more than 45 houses all over the world in the name of his immediate family.
He also made a lot of cash deposit in big security companies in Spain, France and Belgium and Switzerland.
As i write to you there is a cash deposit of $80 million US Dollars he made in a security company in Spain in a coded formula, its only his wife and I who knows about it.
Now as his financial consultants, who have good knowledge of the deposit, the wife has mandated me to seek for a reliable, trust worthy person who will stand as beneficiary to receive the funds for proper and profitable investment as she cannot lay direct claim to the funds because of the ongoing probe and investigation of Omar Bongo past administration by the european union economic community.
There is no risk involved at all as all the logistics for a smooth transaction has been perfected by us.
She has agreed to offer you 20%, of the funds for this assistance. Please this is a highly confidential proposal which must be kept secret to you only.
if you are interested to partner with us do contact me on my direct telephone number stated below or better still via my email address:
I will appreciate your earliest response.