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:
- "million 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)
- This email message is a "Yukos oil" scam. The criminals who send such emails have no connection to Yukos Oil. The emails are usually sent from Nigeria. The only money that ever changes hands in this scam is from you to the criminals.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Yahoo, Hong Kong; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: levin noskov <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2012 11:30:26 +0000
Subject: Dear Partner,
I am Mr.Levin Noskov a personal chief financial treasurer to Mikhail Khodorkovsky the Richest man in Russia and owner of
the following companies: Chairman CEO: YUKOS OIL (Russian Largest Oil Company) Chairman CEO: Menatep SBP Bank (A well
reputable financial institution with branches all over the world)
SOURCE OF FUNDS: I have a profiling amount in an excess of twenty three million dollars ($23M) which I seek your
Partnership in accommodating for me. You will be rewarded with 20% of the total sum for your partnership. Already the funds
have left the shore of Russia through diplomatic means to a European Holding firm where the final crediting is expected to
be carried out. You can catch more of the story on this
YOUR ROLE: All I need from you is to stand as the beneficiary of the above quoted sum and I will re-profile the funds with
your name, which will enable the European Holding firm transfer the sum to you. once i hear from you then i will furnish
you with more details,i await yur response Via email. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Levin Noskov [Mr]
Chief Financial Treasurer
to Mikhail Khodorkovsky