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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Jacek Urbanski" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2011 12:58:20 +0100
Subject: Good Day,
I am sorry for this unsolicited email. Please take time to read my letter carefully not minding my bad English because it's not my primary language; Im sure you would understand the necessity for my actions. I have a profiling sum in excess of 30M (Thirty Million Euros) which I seek your partnership in accommodating for me. You will be rewarded with 30% of the total sum of 30million Euros.
INTRODUCTION OF MYSELF:
I am Mr. Jacek Marek, I was the Personal Assistance to Late Mr. Slawomir Skrzypek, former Head of Poland's Central Bank, who died recently in a plane crash that involved the Poland President, his Wife and other top government functionaries including my Boss (Slawomir Skrzypek, Head of Poland's Central Bank). Below are sites from BBC and other international reporters as regards my story;
SOURCE OF FUNDS:
My boss handed over the documents of the above quoted sum to me before he left for that very last trip. Meanwhile, the funds have already been deposited with a financial institution somewhere in the United Kingdom (undisclosed for now).
All I want from you is to stand as the beneficiary of the above quoted sum. I will arrange for the documents which will enable legal and hitch free transfer of the sum to you. If interested, please reply to my most private email address; [email@example.com]. In my next email to you, I will send you more details and sites to ascertain my claims. Note that this transaction is not supposed to take more than 8 working days, 100% legal and risk free.
Thank you very much for your time. I look forward to hearing from you soonest.
Mr. Jacek Marek