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:
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "international remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Hassan Abu <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2011 02:36:03 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: URGENT POSITIVE RESPONSE IS NEEDED.
Please Read and get back to me for more details. My name is Mr.Hassan Abu I'm the credit officer in International Remittance Department/B.O.A/,Ouagadougou Burkina Faso.I have a business proposal in the tune of $8.5Million,(Eight million five hundred Dollars) after the successful transfer; we shall share in ratio of 40% for you and 60% for me. Should you be interested, please contact me so we can commence on all arrangements and I Will give you more information on how we would handle this project. Please treat this business with utmost confidentiality and send me the Following information:
(1) Full names:
(2)Private phone number:
(3)Current residential address:
(5)Age and Sex:
Mr. Hassan Abu