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)
- "million 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)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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: "Mr. Alan Street" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 2010 10:57:16 +0200 (CEST)
Subject: I need your help
I am Alan Street,An Auditor of a Bank here in Thailand and I discovered an aba
ndoned sum of US$7.4 Million United States dollars in an account that belongs to
one of our foreign customers who died along with his entire family. Since his d
eath, none of his next-of-kin or relations has come forward to lay claims for th
is money as the heir and the funds can't be release from his account unless some
one applies for claim as the next-of-kin to the deceased as indicated in our ban
king guidelines. Upon this discovery, I now seek your permission to have you sta
nd as a next of kin to the deceased. Before it gets confiscated or declared unse
rviceable by the Security Finance Firm. As all documentations will be carefully
worked out by me for the funds
(US$7.4 Million United States dollars) to be released. If you are interested ema
il me at (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org) Thank You.