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:
- "million united states dollars" (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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "SGT MIKE PETERS" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 14 Feb 2010 14:56:36 -0000
Subject: HOW ARE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY?
HOW ARE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY?. HOPE ALL IS WELL.
MY NAME IS ( SGT 1ST CLASS MIKE PETERS, I AM AN AMERICAN SOLDIER, SERVING IN THE MILITARY WITH THE ARMYS 3RD INFANTRY DIVISION. WITH A VERY DESPERATE NEED FOR ASSISTANCE, I HAVE SUMMED UP COURAGE TO CONTACT YOU. I FOUND YOUR CONTACT PARTICULARS IN AN ADDRESS JOURNAL.
I AM SEEKING YOUR KIND ASSISTANCE TO MOVE THE SUM OF ( $28 MILLION U.S. DOLLARS ) TWENTY EIGHT MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS TO YOU, AS FAR AS I CAN BE ASSURED THAT MY SHARE WILL BE SAFE IN YOUR CARE UNTIL I COMPLETE MY SERVICE HERE. SOURCE OF MONEY: SOME MONEY IN VARIOUS CURRENCIES WAS DISCOVERED IN BARRELS AT A FARM HOUSE NEAR ONE OF SADDAMS OLD PALACES IN TIKRIT-IRAQ DURING A RESCUE OPERATION, AND IT WAS AGREED BY STAFF SGT KENNETH BUFF AND I THAT SOME PART OF THIS MONEY BE SHARED AMONG BOTH OF US BEFORE INFORMING ANYBODY ABOUT IT SINCE BOTH OF US SAW THE MONEY FIRST. THIS WAS QUITE AN ILLEGAL THING TO DO, BUT I TELL YOU WHAT? NO COMPENSATION CAN MAKE UP FOR THE RISK WE HAVE TAKEN WITH OUR LIVES IN THIS HELL HOLE. OF WHICH MY BROTHER IN-LAW WAS KILLED BY A ROAD SIDE BOMB LAST TIME. THE ABOVE FIGURE WAS GIVEN TO ME AS MY SHARE, AND TO CONCEAL THIS KIND OF MONEY BECAME A PROBLEM FOR ME, SO WITH THE HELP OF A BRITISH CONTACT WORKING HERE AND HIS OFFICE ENJOY SOME IMMUNITY, I WAS ABLE TO GET THE PACKAGE OUT
I HAVE NOW FOUND A VERY SECURED WAY OF GETTING THE PACKAGE OUT OF IRAQ TO YOUR COUNTRY FOR YOU TO PICK UP, AND I WILL DISCUSS THIS WITH YOU WHEN I AM SURE THAT YOU ARE WILLING TO ASSIST ME, AND I BELIEVE THAT MY MONEY WILL BE WELL SECURED IN YOUR HAND BECAUSE YOU HAVE FEAR OF GOD. I WANT YOU TO TELL ME HOW MUCH YOU WILL TAKE FROM THIS MONEY FOR THE ASSISTANCE YOU WILL GIVE TO ME. ONE PASSIONATE APPEAL I WILL MAKE TO YOU IS NOT TO DISCUSS THIS MATTER WITH ANYBODY, SHOULD YOU HAVE REASONS TO REJECT THIS OFFER, PLEASE PLEASE AND PLEASE DESTROY THIS MESSAGE AS ANY LEAKAGE OF THIS INFORMATION WILL BE TOO BAD FOR US SOLDIERS HERE IN IRAQ. I DO NOT KNOW HOW LONG WE WILL REMAIN HERE, AND I HAVE BEEN SHOT, WOUNDED AND SURVIVED TWO SUICIDE BOMB ATTACKS BY THE SPECIAL GRACE OF GOD, THIS AND OTHER REASONS I WILL MENTION LATER HAS PROMPTED ME TO REACH OUT FOR HELP, I HONESTLY WANT THIS MATTER TO BE RESOLVED IMMEDIATELY, PLEASE CONTACT ME AS SOON AS POSSIBLE WITH MY E-MAIL ADDRESS WHICH IS MY ONLY WAY OF COMMUNICATION.
SGT. MIKE PETERS