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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million 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)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "chambers" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
Fraud email example:
From: "MUSAPHA YOUSUF LAW CHAMBERS" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 21 Apr 2011 08:34:01 +0100
Subject: REMINDER FROM THE DESK OF MUSTAPHA YOUSUF
FROM THE DESK OF MUSTAPHA
YOUSUF ABDULLAH LAW CHAMBERS
20 JALAN TUN RAZAK
KUALA LUMPUR MALAYSIA
I am BARRISTER MUSTAPHA YOUSUF ABDULLAH (esq).An attorney at law, A deceased client of mine that shares the same last name as yours died as the result of a heart-related condition on March 12th 2005. His heart condition was due to the death of all the members of his family in the tsunami disaster on the 26th December 2004 in Sumatra Indonesia. And in the record there is no known successor to this deposit of the deceased who died without a will. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Indian_Ocean_earthquake.
My chambers conducted a random draw which was supervised by the Ministry of justice. The attorney General of Malaysia BANK where the money was deposited by my late client. Your name and e-mail address was picked as the beneficiary to my late client fund. I am particularly interested in securing this money from the Bank, because they have issued a notice instructing my chamber to produce the beneficiary of this Fund within three weeks which happens to be you or else the money will be credited to the Government treasury as per law here in my country Malaysia.
My late Client has a deposit of Three Million Five hundred United States Dollars ($3.5 Million dollars) left behind.
I urge you to contact me immediately for further details bearing in mind that the Bank has given us a date limit.
Please contact me urgently
CONGRATULATIONS ONCE AGAIN.