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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "million pounds" (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)
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "@lawyer.com" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Manishi Srivastava" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 6 Jul 2014 18:53:34 -0700
Subject: THE INFORMATION YOU REQUESTED
- This mail is in HTML. Some elements may be ommited in plain text. -
Hope you and your blessed family are living fine? I am a legal practitioner base in South Wales, my client is a prominent politician from Ukraine; we are in search of foreign investor that will professionally handle his investment outside Ukraine. The political crisis in Ukraine has affected businesses of various types having investors divert their business outside the nation. I will legalize the memorandum of understanding for this investment under the British Investment Law. My client was able to raise the sum of £10 Million Pounds Sterling, it is agreed that you will invest the funds into profitable business opportunities in your area to secure reasonably monthly income and 20% of the total amount is your reward as we expect to handle this transaction accordingly.
I await your reply with your complete details to my e-mail as stated bellow for the preparation of investment partnership MOU.
Srivastava Manishi Esq
Urban Village, High Street
Swansea SA1 1NW