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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "clearance document" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "foreign exchange" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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: Salkar Cunbia <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2010 11:38:39 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: THANKS FOR YOUR KINDNESS AND UNDERSTANDING(TEL+226 76 79 20 28)
From The Desk Of Mr.Salkar Cunbia.
NO #24 Ahaji Kabriu Crescent,
Ouagadougou Burkina Faso,
Private telephone(+226 76 79 20 28)
I am Mr.Salkar Cunbia, an auditor with African Development Bank (ADB). There was an account opened in this bank in1998 and since 2000 nobody has operated on this account again. After going through some old files in the records, I discovered that if I do not remit this money out urgently, this funds will go down the drains, into the hands of either the board of directors of this bank or the funds may eventually be discovered by the government as a dormant fund in the forth coming audit by the Nations auditors.
They will confiscate or send it into the government's treasury account.The question now is who is the government and where is the treasury? These are human beings like you and I. The owner of this account is Mr Morris Thompson,a foreigner,and a miner at Kruger gold co, a geologist by profession and he died in 2000.No other person knows about this account or any thing concerning it, the account has no other beneficiary and my investigation proved to me as well that his company does not know anything about this account.
The amount involved is Ten Million, Five Hundred and thirty Thousand United States Dollars.10,530.000.00 I am only contacting you, as a foreigner because this money cannot be approved to a local bank account here, but can only be approved to any foreign account and foreign beneficiary because the money is in US dollars and the real owner of the account is Mr Morris Thompson,is a foreigner too.
I only got your contact address from my secretary who operates computer; with believe in god that you will never let me down in this business so that I will inform you the next step to take immediately.
I need your full co-operation to make this work fine because the management is ready to approve this payment to any foreigner, who has correct information of this account, which I will give to you later, if you will be able to handle such amount in strict confidence and trust according to my instructions and advice for our mutual benefit because this opportunity will never come again in our life.
With my position now in the office I can transfer this money to any foreigner's reliable account, which you can provide with assurance that this money will be intact pending my physical arrival in your country for sharing and investment.
I will also use my position and influence to effect legal approvals for onward transfer of this money to your account with appropriate clearance documents from the ministries and foreign exchange department. But, it will only cost us small money as to procure such back up documents from the ministries in concern.
Please call me as soon as you read this mail on my private telephone(+226 76 79 20 28)
I look forward to your earliest reply.