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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- This email message is a "New Partner from Paraguay" 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.
- email@example.com (Yahoo, Japan; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Richard Paul" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 27 Dec 2011 19:07:18 +0300
Subject: Dear Friend,
I could not contact you earlier before now due to my tight schedules.
I am very happy to inform you about my success in getting that money
under the cooperation of a new partner from Paraguay Presently I am
in Paraguay with the partner for some projects with the money.
Meanwhile,I did not forget your past efforts and attempts to assist
me in that process despite that it failed us at that time. due to no trust.
Now,I want you to contact my secretary,her Name is Miss Hellen Ngozi
and her email address is (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Arrange with her how the total sum of ( $2,000,000,00 ) will reach you
safely which I have already kept for your Compensation for all the past
efforts and attempts to assist me in this matter. I appreciated your
efforts at that time very much.
So feel free to get in touch with my secretary Miss Hellen Ngozi
and discuss with her how the amount will reach you.
Please do let me know immediately you contact her to receive it so that
we can share the joy after all the suffering at that time. As at the
moment,I am very busy here because of the projects which I and the new
partner are have at hand.
Finally,remember that I had forwarded instruction to my secretary on your
behalf to receive that money, so feel free to get in touch with her and she
will send the amount to you without any delay.