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.
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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: "Calvin Johnson" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 8 Jan 2010 06:44:41 -0800
Subject: From Mr Calvin Johnson
My name is MrCalvin Johnson of the International Monetary Fund investigation unit. Be informed that one Messers Jacobs came to our office in London UK today with a petition requesting that your unclaimed fund valued $5.5M be paid to his company Messers Jacobs Enterprises ltd.
In the said letter/petition, he stated that you are dead and as such your fund should be paid to him as the next of kin. Because of the elaborate global scam, we decided to contact you for confirmation. If after two working days, no responce is received from you, it will be assumed that you are dead and authorisation and approval will be granted on behalf of Messers Jacobs enterprises to claim/receive your fund.
Confirm therefore if you know him and if the said fund should be paid to him. However, if you are still alive, kindly reconfirm your Information and how you want your fund paid to you without further delay.
Send your confirmation/responce to the verification department immediately via this email address: email@example.com
Mr Calvin Johnson