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)
- "a security company " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "the consignment" (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)
- "consignment " (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)
- "million united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Gregg Joseph"<firstname.lastname@example.org> (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 12 Nov 2011 20:13:22 -0200
Subject: READ CAREFULLY AND GET BACK TO ME.
FROM AFGHANISTAN, (One passionate appeal).
Hope this mail meet you in good health,My name is SSgt, Gregg Joseph.
I am an American soldier,serving in the military with the army 3rd infantry
now in redeployment to Afghanistan base.
Iam soliciting your kind assistance for a mutual benefit to move fund out of
here to your care,The sum of ($16 MILLION U.S DOLLARS)sixteen million united
state dollars to you,as far as i can be rest assured that my share will be safe
in your care till my return back home.
Source of money:
Some money in various currencies was discovered in barrels during a rescue
operation, and it was agreed by other foreign and I that some part of this money
be shared among both of us before informing anybody about it since both of us
saw the money first. I know that this was quite an illegal thing to do, but I
tell you what? No compensation can make up for the risk we have taken with our
lives in this hell hole. Of which my brother in-law was killed by a road side
bomb last week.
Please view website for confirmation;
The above figure was given to me as my share, and to conceal this kind of money
became a problem for me, so with the help of a British contact working here and
his office enjoy some immunity, I was able to move the money to a security
company in United Kingdom as a diplomatic baggage to be transported by to the
home before was redeployed to Afghanistan base.The consignments are now with
the diplomatic office in the United Kingdom and the courier have inform me the
intention to return the consignment and it content back to the origin if I
cannot provide them a receipt to the package within 14 working days.
The moment I am sure that you are willing to assist me, I will give you the
information of the security,I want you to tell me how much you will take from
this money for the assistance you will give to me.
One passionate appeal I will make to you is not to discuss this matter with
anybody, should you have reasons to reject this offer, please and please destroy
this message as any leakage of this information will be too bad for us soldiers
here in Iraq. I do not know how long we will remain here, and i have been shot,
wounded and survived two suicide bomb attacks by the special grace of God, this
and other reasons I will mention later has prompted me to reach out for help, I
honestly want this matter to be resolved immediately, please Contact me as soon
as possible; my only way of communication is email.
Yours in Service.
sgt, Gregg Joseph.