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:
- "please indicate your interest" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "huge amount of money" (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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: BETTY EDWARDS <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 2013 01:31:37 +0530
Subject: MAIL FROM BETTY EDWARDS
Hello, I am a US military personnel who has served diligently here in Iraq =
until I was redeployed to Afghanistan after the end of Iraqi war. I then ch=
ose to opt for self-discharge from the service without going to Afghanistan=
to enable me move a substantial amount of money out of Iraq. I am reaching=
out to you to enjoin you to partner with me/ assist in this venture for wh=
ich I need your Honest collaboration. Please indicate your interest in rece=
iving these huge amount of money on my behalf. I will give you guidance and=
instructions while I'm still here in Iraq and join you after transfer is c=
oncluded. If Interested please get back to me to enable me provide further =
info but only when I get assurance of no betrayal of trust on your part. Ve=
ry sincerely Betty Edwards