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:
- "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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Collins Mende Esq" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2010 07:33:17 -0700
Subject: I WISH TO HAVE YOU AS A TRUSTEE
With all due respect,
My name is Collins Mende and an attorney by profession, in my quest to find a reliable trustee to manage the assets/estate of my late client valued at only US$11,000,000.00 (Eleven Million United States Dollars), I contacted you and it is the only reason why you are receiving this email from me.
I shall be willing to supply you with more detailed information concerning this business project upon hearing back from you. I have no intention whatsoever to delve into your private life considering the fact that you have never had any communication with me in the past, but due to the nature of this business project based on the fact that I lack the locus-stand to assume the role of the trustee or appoint any of my relation to become the trustee by virtue of the facts and circumstances surrounding this project, I am left with no other choice, but to carry out a discreet search for a reputable person outside the shores of my country and consequently seek your stewardship.
If you wish to render your selfless service, but very rewarding, do provide me with the following information's via email < email@example.com >.
1.Your full names
2.Tel & fax numbers
4.Your occupation and your Age
I shall provide you with more detailed information upon hearing back from you. Thank you, all inconvenience is regretted.
Collins Mende Esq.
PLEASE EMAIL TO firstname.lastname@example.org