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.
- This email message is a "Yukos oil" scam. The criminals who send such emails have no connection to Yukos Oil. The emails are usually sent from Nigeria. The only money that ever changes hands in this scam is from you to the criminals.
- 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: Nikolay Sintsov <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 3 Mar 2011 23:19:47 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: I NEED YOUR URGENT ASSISTANCE AND TRUST
I am Nikolay Sintsov, personal assistant to Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once rated as the richest man in Russia and owner of YUKOS OIL (Russian largest oil company),chairman CEO: Menatep SBP Bank (a well reputable financial institution with its branches all over the world).
SOURCE OF FUNDS:
I have a profiling amount in an excess of US$40.5M, which I seek you to accommodate for me. You will be rewarded with 40% of the total sum for your partnership. Can you handle this? As his personal assistant, I was authorized to transfer money of an American oil merchant for his last oil deal with my boss Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
The funds have since left the shores of America to a European private financial institution where the final crediting is to be carried out. While I was on the process, my boss got arrested for his involvement in politics by financing the leading and opposing political parties (the Union of Right Forces, led by Boris Nemtsov, and Yabloko, a liberal/social democratic party led by Gregor Yavlinsky), which posed as a threat to President Vladimir Putin's second Tenure as Russian president. Since then, I have placed on hold all transactions concerning this amount. You can catch more of the story on this website:
All I need from you is to stand as the beneficiary of the above mentioned sum and I will re-profile the funds with your data, which will enable the financial firm transfer the sum to you. I have decided to use this sum to relocate to the American continent and never to be connected to any of Mikhail Khodorkovsky conglomerates, presently I am in Switzerland in Europe, for a hide out,
The transaction has to be concluded as soon and as I confirm your readiness to proceed with me, I will provide you with details. Contact me at my private email address: email@example.com
Thank you very much.