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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "huge deposit" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Charles Brown Esq." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2010 05:52:02 -0500
Subject: URGENT ENQUIRY
I am Mr. Charles Brown, a Canadian attorney based in United Kingdom .I am reaching out to you in respect of an investment opportunity.
I am soliciting your assistance in repatriating the funds and property left behind by my late client before it is declared unserviceable by the bank where the huge deposit is lodged and confiscated by the government.
On the 3rd day of January 2004, my client and his wife along with their two children were among the victims of Boeing 737 Egyptian Airliner that crashed into the Red Sea. You can read more about the crash by visiting this website: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/3365769.stm
Do note that your identity or country of origin does not matter. I will give you more information upon your response.
If this proposal is acceptable to you, kindly email your following information to me:
A. Private telephone and fax numbers.
B. Your postal/residential address.
I humbly look forward to your soonest response.
Charles Brown Esq.