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:
- "a security company " (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. )
- "the consignment" (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)
- "consignment " (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)
- "here in united kingdom" (this email uses bad English)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "DR. CHRISTOPHER MATTHEW" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2010 20:47:08 -0000
Subject: Partnership Business Opportunity Good Day!!!
I, Dr. Christopher C. Matthew I'm the Operations Manager with a Security Company here in United Kingdom, I am contacting you regarding to a business deal, there is a (Consignment) that was deposited with us in 2001 by Mr. George Brumley who was an investor in Africa, One month ago I was assigned by my superiors to locate Mr. Brumley since I am one of the oldest staff in this organization and I was part of the team that approved the consignment at the time it was deposited with us in 2001.
I have tried several means in reaching Mr. George Brumley all effort failed not until I got the information from a very reliable source that my former client died within the period he was in Africa just after 2 years he deposited the consignment in my company. I want to present you as the beneficiary to the consignment, there will be no risk involve on this opportunity we are about to step into. The Deal is this, the consignment contains a total amount of (US$4.2M) and my superiors has given me an ultimatum to get the consignment to Mr. George but I think it will be stupid of me to pass the message to them that Mr. George Brumley is late, for them to send the consignment to the government coffers as unclaimed, and that will enable them to open the consignment to know its content. When we accepted the consignment from our late client it was tagged as family valuables.
Do not be sceptical about this deal because I am going to get every legal document concerning the consignment on your name before I will inform my superiors that I have been able to get the rightful owner to the consignment. All they need from me is to get the consignment to the owner; I am willing to share the funds 70/30 with you. Please, acknowledge receipt of this email using the below personal email address, so that we can discuss the next step. I will furnish you with details of late Mr. George Brumley as soon as I hear from you and I want you not to take this as a game because of the medium in which I contacted you.
Dr. Christopher C. Matthew