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:
- ",000,000" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "00,000.00" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "MR ERNEST CHINNACHI" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 18 Dec 2009 07:00:59 -0800
Subject: DEAR GOOD FRIEND
HEAD OF ARCHIVES /RECONCILIATION
FIDELITY BANK PLC.
RE: NEXT OF KIN
DO NOT BE SURPRISED AT RECEIVING THIS MAIL.I BELIEVE THAT THERE IS NO HARM IN TRYING SOMEONE TRUSTWORTHY AT HEART.A NEW RELATIONSHIP WILL GO A LONG WAY TO HELP ME.
I NEED YOU TO COME AND STAND AS 'NEXT OF KIN' TO A CLIENT LATE MR.PHILIP L.MCDOW WHO DIED OF A HEART CONDITION HERE IN LAGOS.SOME YEARS AGO,MR.MCDOW MADE A NUMBERED(OR FIXED)DEPOSIT OF US$18,000,000.00 MILLION IN MY BANK.
UNFORTUNATELY,HE DID NOT MENTION A NEXT OF KIN IN ANY OF HIS PAPERS WITH US OR HE IS A CONTRACTORS - TEXACO OIL.SINCE THEN,THERE HAVE BEEN NO RESPONCE TO OUR INTERNATIONAL ADVERTORIALSCALLING FOR ANY RELATIVE TO CONTACT US.
MY DEPARTMENT HAS THE MANDATE TO OVERSEE THE INTERNAL CLEARANCE FOR CLAIMS SUCH AS THIS AND THE FINAL APPROVAL SIGNATURE FOR PAYMENT IS MINE.YOU HAVE NO RISK.BY LAW,YOU ONLY NEED TO SHOW-UP ONCE BEFORE THE MONEY WILL BE PAID INTO YOUR ACCOUNT ABROAD.
HOWEVER,PLEASE KNOW THAT THE MONEY WILL BE SHARED BETWEEN US;I WILL TAKE 50% AND YOU:45% WHILE 5% FOR THE EXPENSE WE MIGHT HAVE INCURE DURING THE PROCESS OF TRANSFER.
THERE ARE REASONS WHY WE NEED TO CLAIM THIS MONEY FAST.I WILL GIVE YOU MORE COMPREHENSIVE DETAIL WHEN YOU REPLY.
MR ERNEST CHINNACHI.
TEL: 234 - 806-925-5616.