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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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.
- +27866010920 (South Africa, 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)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Benjamin Vusi" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 8 Jun 2009 19:50:44 -0700
Subject: **THANK YOU**
I am writing following an opportunity in my office that will be of immense benefit to both of us. I am
branch Manager of one of the leading bank in South Africa in my bank we discovered an abandoned
large sum of money belonging to one of our Foreign Costumer, since 2003 nobody has operated this account.
The owner of this account is DR. GEORGE BRUMLEY, an American Nationality,
He was a contractor/consultant to KRUGER MINING (SA) INC a South African Government Owned Mining Company.
He was a Geo/Physicist by profession a businessman based America/South Africa, who involved in air Crash along with his family. I am seeking for your
Co-operation to present you as the next of kin/beneficiary to our late Customer. You can confirm from the website below.
No other person knows about this account or anything concerning these funds, no beneficiary and nobody
have ever come for the claims and if we do not remit this funds out it will be confiscated into the
Government Treasure. I am seeking for your Co-operation to present or front you as the beneficiary of the funds.
The Strategy is to use our influence as managers of the bank to make you the beneficiary and
approve the funds to you the beneficiary of the funds since no beneficiary.So if you are interested please reply with your full name,
Address,telephone and fax number for further clarification contact me on thisemail: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel/fax +27 86 601 0920.
Mr. Benjamin Vusi