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:
- "please endeavor to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- 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.
- +34687665538 (Spain, 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Abogado De Justicia" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 15 Oct 2009 15:22:31 +0200
Subject: THIS IS MY THIRD AND FINAL MAIL TO YOU!!!
THIS IS MY THIRD AND FINAL MAIL TO YOU!!!
On behalf of the Trustees and Executor of the estate of Late Mrs Augusta Hermina. I once again try to notify you as my earlier letter >were returned undelivered. I wish to notify you that late Mrs Augusta Hermina made you a beneficiary to her WILL. She left the sum of One Million, Five Hundred Thousand Dollars (USD$1, 500.000.00) to you in the Codicil and last testament to her WILL.
This may sound strange and unbelievable to you, but it is real and true. Being a widely traveled lady, she must have been in contact with you in the past, Mrs Augusta Hermina until her death was a member of the Helicopter Society and the Institute of Electronic & Electrical Engineers. Please endeavor to get back to me as soon as possible to enable me conclude my job. You are advice to Contact me on the following information below:
Abogado De Justicia
Notario & Tribunal