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:
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: George Mensah <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 10 Jun 2009 01:05:35 +0000
Subject: Awaiting your urgent response.
CAN YOU STAND AS OUR DECEASED CUSTOMER'S NEXT OF KIN IN THE
BANK? HE HAS $12.5M IN HIS ACCOUNT WITHOUT APPOINTING ANY NEXT OF KIN
TILL HE DIED IN AUTO CRASH AND IF WE DID NOT APPLY TO CLAIM THE FUNDS
RIGHT NOW, MY BANK MAY DIVERT THE FUNDS TO THEIR TREASURE.THERE IS NO
RISK INVOLVED IN IT, PLEASE GET BACK FOR MORE DETAILS,