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:
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: tani oude <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 19 Aug 2002 19:00:16 GMT
Subject: Compliment Of The Season.
I am Mr.Tani Oude. From Burkina Faso.I want to seek your assistance after my discovery during auditing in my bank as the manager of Bill and Exchange at the Foriegn Remittance Dept.In my department we discovered an abandoned sum of USD$18M US dollars in an account that belongs to one of our foreign customers who died along with his entire family during the Iraq war.
I will be very much greatful you join me transfer this fund to your account, the money has baeen dormant for years in our Bank here without any body coming for it. I know that this mail will come to you as a surprise.
I Hoped that you will not expose or betray this trust and confident that i am about to repose on you for the mutual benefit of our both families.We want to release the money to you as the nearest person to our deceased customer. I don't want the money to go into our Bank treasury as an abandoned fund.So this is the reason why i contacted you,so that we can release the money to you as the nearest person to the deceased cutomer.
Please I would like you to keep this proposal as a top secret,.Upon receipt of your reply i will send you full details on how the business will be executed and also note that you will have 40% of the above mentioned if you agree to transact the business with me.
FILL THIS FORM BELLOW PLEASE AND RESEND IT TO ME.
1) Your Full Name..............
2) Your Age.....................
3) Marital Status................
4) Your Cell Phone Number
5) Your Fax Number
6) Your Country
7) Your Occupation..............
Trusting to hear from you immediately.
Mr Tani Oude