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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "to your nominated bank account" (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 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: office <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2011 10:58:05 -0800 (PST)
I anticipate that you read this mail quickly and let me know your opinion or willingness on this classified information that I will release to you.
Firstly, I am Mr. Lewis Saux, the Foreign Remittance director of GarantiBank B.V. Netherlands. I am writing to solicit your assistance in the transfer of Ten million seven hundred fifty thousand dollars (10,750.000.00).
I have since then, placed this amount of (10,750.000.00) On a SUSPENSE ACCOUNT without a beneficiary.
As an officer of the bank, I cannot be directly connected to this money thus I am impelled to request for your assistance to receive this money into your bank account. I intend to give 35% of this fund to you while 65% shall be for me.
I do need to stress that there are practically no risk involved in this. It is going to be a bank-to-bank transfer to your nominated bank account anywhere you feel safer. All I need from you is to stand as the original depositor of this fund.
If you accept this offer, I will appreciate your timely response. Please send your response to my personal email:firstname.lastname@example.org .