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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "fiduciary agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Gary Shaughnessy" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 20 Aug 2009 19:20:21 +0300
Subject: PARTICIPATE AS BROKER/AGENT
I wish to invite you to participate as broker/agent to Fidelity
international UK (FIL)individualized equity investment portfolio
management programme. Fidelity international UK is the largest financial investment centre
in the world with over £50 billion private and corporate investment portfolios.
We are privately looking for fiduciary agents and management experts who will be willing to
act as investment portfolio holders and administrators. We currently have a back-log of an
Excess Maximum Return Capital Profit (EMRCP) of an average of 1.2% on each private
investment and corporate portfolio under our administration and control and we wish to
re-invest this fund by putting it into the management of private businessmen and
corporations with good business ideas that can generate atleast 9% ROI per annum over
maximum of 5 years duration.The fund will be disbursed based on a clear loan of 4.5%
interest rate per annum for 5 years renewable tenure.
After our last board meeting,we came to a concrete decision to re-invest the fundS within
united kingdom under the management of private individuals and corporate groups in the
region as a stimulus package to help sustain their businesses due to global economic
recession. Due to the fact that you are not a citizen of this country, You are not entitled
to this loan but due to my position a director in this institution i can arrange this loan
on your behalf with the condition that i will be entitled to 10% equity in any of the
chosen investment field you chose to place the
fund throughout the duration of the 5 years contract tenure,
Alternatively, you can settle me with a one-time payment of 5% of the total fund upon
confirmation in your corporate account.
I seriously crave your indulgence and confidentiality to ensure that we have a harmonious
business relationship. I shall wait for your response before making available to you the
application form and other modalities.
All sign-up contracts,briefings and investment portfolio management files will be handled
in london united kingdom.
For further details contact me back ASAP.
Fidelity international UK(FIL).