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)
- "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)
- "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: "LEUNG CHEUNG" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 2 Apr 2013 10:45:28 +0530
I hope this letter meets you in good health condition, I found your contact id on a yellow page, and i decided to write you because i need a favour from you that will eventually benefit both of us. For the records, I am Leung Cheung, from Hong-kong. I am a banker, married, with children.
I am sending a proposal expecting you to consider it as an opportunity and give me a response, honestly i have not sent this letter to any one before but i have decided to take control of the situation and take advantage, if you say so'; I need you to assist me to transfer an abandoned fund at my bank which amounts to $22.5Million Dollars owned by a deceased client from Germany who died along with his family and his fund abandoned at the bank where i presently work as the Accounts/Operation Manager.
Upon the receipt of your reply and indication of your interest, I will give you full details on how the transaction will be executed.
We will share in ratio of 50% / 50%. Reply if interested only via email: email@example.com, you can confirm the news on (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/859479.stm).