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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. George Adike" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 8 Jun 2009 03:34:14 -1200
Subject: I Need Your Honest Assistance
I am Dr. George Adike, Director of account Union Bank of Nigeria plc. A contractor who is a customer named ENGR. REINIER PRITCHARD, made a deposit valued at USD$18 million.
Upon maturity, I sent a routine notification to his forwarding address but got no reply. After a month we discovered from his contract employers that the depositor had died. On further investigation, I found out that he died without making a will.However, my proposal is to front you as the next of kin to the deceased Customer of our bank, if this transaction interests you kindly let me know so I can advice you on how we are going to execute this deal.
I completely trust you to keep this proposition absolutely confidential and Kindly forward your full names, contact address, telephone and fax numbers where I can reach you easily. I have suggested that we share the funds as follows 50% for me 40% for your effort and 10% for expenses, I look forward to your earliest response through my alternative email Address below: (email@example.com) for security reasons.
Dr. George Adike.