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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "% commission" (Beware of any scheme that involves depositing checks or money orders or receiving wire transfers in your bank account and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere, for a percentage of 5-15% of the total. Such offers are *always* fraudulent and you will be liable for the entire amount when the checks, money orders or wire transfers turn out to be fraudulent. Any money already forwarded comes out of *your* pocket then. )
- 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.
- email@example.com (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Thomas Owusu <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 3 Oct 2011 07:34:46 +0000
Subject: GOOD DAY DEAR FRIEND,
am (Thomas Owusu) a Director of operation in the above mentioned
Corporation. My primary assignment in the corporation is to award
contracts that have been approved by the Government. In the course of
awarding these contracts for the prefabrication/ refurbishment of the
nation refinery. The contract which was awarded to an expatriate was
inflated to the tune of $13,700,000.00 USD. I
am seeking your indulgence and assistance in having this amount
remitted to your account for investment purposes. There is absolutely no
liability, be it civil, criminal or financial on your part. We have
resolved to compensate you with 40% commission for your assistance in
having this fund transferred to your account for investment purposes.
This transaction is being executed with the blessing of Executives in
government and in the Oil ministry. More details will be forwarded to
you, should I receive a positive response from you. Looking forward to
having a healthy and lucrative business relationship with you.Please contact me with this email address: email@example.com
FULL NAME:.........................DELIVERY ADDRESS:..................PHONE NUMBER:......................COUNTRY:...................... .....STATE:........................ .....OCCUPATION:................... .....SEX:.......................... .....AGE:.......................... .....Thank you in advance for your corporation.Yours Sincerely, Director, Finance and CorporateThomas OwusuDirector of operation(GNPC) Accra Ghana