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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "million united states 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)
- "i have a new email address!" (this SPAM email was sent to thousands of people)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- +22993709231 (Benin, probably a prepaid mobile phone)
- 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)
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: =?iso-8859-1?q?ann=20wiwa?= <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 19 May 2006 21:05:03 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: YOUR COMPENSATION.
I have a new email address!You can now email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTACT MY SECRETARY IN AFRICA HIS NAME IS PRINCE WILLIAM RAYMOND ON HIS DIRECT PHONE NUMBER: +229-93-70-9231 OR EMAIL ADDRESS: email@example.com I HAVE INSTRUCTED HIM TO DIRECT YOU ON HOW YOU WOULD RECEIVE THE SUM OF ONE MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS IN CHECK, WHICH I SET OUT FOR YOUR COMPENSATION, PLEASE I WANT YOU TO ACCEPT IT IN GOOD FAITH. I REALLY APPRECIATE ALL YOU DID AND I PRAY THAT WE WOULD MEET SOMEDAY, BUT RIGHT NOW I TOO BUSY FOR SOME TIME, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN, SO FEEL FREE AND GET IN TOUCHED WITH PRINCE WILLIAM.
- ann wiwa