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)
- 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 (Rediffmail, India; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Alice Morgan"<firstname.lastname@example.org> (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2007 21:35:58 +0100
Subject: From Mrs. Alice Morgan.
It is with great regret that I have learned the disturbance I have caused you and your family. I want to make this confession because I am conscious of the damage that could be done with my soul if I did not establish the facts about the position of your money. For over 1 year, I have undergone 4 major back surgeries culminating in titanium rods having been implanted as support for my spine. This sickness has defiled all forms of medicine, and when it became apparent I could no longer walk. It is recently the doctors broke the news that I have only about few weeks to live. I want God to be merciful to me and accept my soul.
In a brief introduction, I am Mrs. Alice Morgan, a senior staff with the Electronic Transfer Account Department: I would ask you to accept that there is little more I can now do to satisfactorily resolve the issues holding the release of the US$9,300,000 but with due cognizance to the constitutional procedures. Having known my condition, I have acknowledged the wrong I have committed in the past and words alone cannot restore the unacceptable delay and aggravation you have suffered as a consequence of my inaction. But we can take a clear stand and ensure that this money is immediately released to your bank account without any problem.
I have had the pleasure to instruct Rev. Fr. John Martins, to perfect immediate transfer of this money to you, and they have accepted to carry out the transfer as soon as you make official application. You will need to contact Rev. Fr. John Martins and forward your full name; Address and direct telephone number to enable them perfect the release of your money. Remember to include your transaction reference number CP-59/78782/56589/09. Rev. Fr. John Martins will treat you with genuine respect and professionalism. He will immediately begin to release the money to you within 3 days time if you keep in constant touch with him. You can contact Rev. Fr. John Martins on this phone number: + 00233 543356189 or email address: ( email@example.com ) for urgent attention.
Additionally, on behalf of my present condition, I ask you to accept my unreserved apologies for my past inaction that unfairly denied you from receiving your legitimate inheritance money. If there is anything you can do for me now is FORGIVENESS
You and your family have my best wishes for the future.
Mrs. Alice Morgan.