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:
- "western union" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "email@example.com" (This email address looks like addresses used in fake loan scams. Be suspicious of any lender who uses a free webmail address or who is based in different country from yourself.)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "HASSAN LOAN FIRM" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 21 Aug 2009 12:11:08 +0300 (EAT)
Subject: APPLY FOR LOAN WITH CHEAP 3% INTEREST RATES
APPLY FOR LOAN WITH CHEAP 3% INTEREST RATES
Good Day to you
I am Alj Hassan Mohamed a registered private lender that gives out
loans at 3% interest rate to real estate investors, business
firms, organizations and also prospective and serious individuals that
have a good means of paying back the loan at the stipulated period of
time. For more inquiries on getting a loan from me, do not hesitate to
contact me via my e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
LOAN MINIMUM --10,000 USD
Below are the loan Applications:
* Applicant Full Names:
* Applicant Contact Address:
* Marital Status:
* Amount Required As Loan:
*Proposed Terms/Duration Of Loan:
Below are two options
Mode of Payment:
* Payment by bank certified check (courier)
* Western union money transfer
Have a blessed day.
Alj Hassan Mohamed
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believed to be clean.