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:
- "necessary legal documents" (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. )
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. S.Farkash Gaddafi" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2012 08:38:32 +0000
Subject: Kindly, respond immediately if you are interested to help us!
I am Safia Farkash, wife of the embattled and killed Libyan leader Colonel Mummar Gaddafi, who has been killed by the unfaithful opposition leaders in my country. Following the heat as a result of the crises in Libya against my husband, Col. Mummar Gaddafi, I have been able to escape to a neighboring country with my daughter to save our lives. I am desperately looking for a foreign reliable partner whom I can trust to handle some funds on our behalf. A deposit was made one time ago by my husband in one of the financial Companies in ASIA in my name. The UN and the Western world have freeze most of our assets and funds bearing my late husband's name anywhere in the world.
Consequently, our status/position of the present state does not permit us to open an account or run any huge financial business at the moment. This is why we contacted you to claim the funds on your behalf as the beneficiary. All the necessary Legal documents will be changed to your name to enable the Financial Firm where the fund was deposited to release it to you. Your assistance will enable us invest the funds in your country. But before we proceed you will promise me that you will not betray or abscond with the funds when it eventually released to you. Last time the government moved officially to freeze the assets held by the Libyan regime in the UK following sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council. In fact, I will furnish you with more information as soon as I hear your response indicating your interest to partner with me and my daughter. At present I don't receive or make calls for security reasons as it is being monitored. All communication will base on the email for now unless if you would like to talk to our lawyer who is assisting us now.
I wait for your prompt and positive response.
Mrs. Safia Farkash Ghaddafi.
Please, reply to this my private email address if you know that I will read your response (firstname.lastname@example.org)