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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "George Howell" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 6 Mar 2011 20:57:55 -0000
Subject: Seeking partnership in Re-profiling $50,000,000.00 USD.
I am George Howell, Staff of Halifax Bank (London).I am contacting you
concerning a deceased customer and an investment he placed under our banks
management four years ago to the tune of Fifty million united states
dollars($50,000,000,00).I would respectfully request that you keep the
contents of this mail confidential and respect the integrity of the
information you come by as a result of this mail.I have been incharge of
this department for six years and to best of my knowledge,i have discharged
my duty with equity.
My proposal; I am prepared to place you in a position to instruct The
security Firm to release the deposit to you as the closest surviving
relation.Upon receipt of the deposit,I am prepared to share the money with
you in half. That is:I will simply nominate you as the next of kin and have
them release the deposit to you. We share the proceeds 50/50.
I ask that you do not destroy my chance, if you will not work with me let me
know and let me move on with my life but do not destroy me. I am a family
man and this is an opportunity to provide them with new opportunities. There
is a reward for this project and it is a task well worth undertaking.
I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that
will protect you and I from any breach of the law.
I will most welcome your prompt response via Email as that would enable us
to start something immediately.