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:
- "waiting for your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "diplomatic courier" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "offshore account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- 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 (Yahoo, Hong Kong; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Sgt Robert William Hunt <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2010 19:16:05 +0100
Subject: Immediate response
I hope my email meets you well. I am in need of your assistance. My
name is Sgt
Robert William Hunt. I am in the Engineering military unit here in Ba'qubah in
Iraq; we have some amount of funds that we want to move out of the country.
My partners and I need a good partner someone we can trust. It is oil
legal. Basically, since we are working for the government we cannot keep these
funds, but we want to transfer and move the funds to you, so that you can keep
it for us in your safe account or an offshore account. However, we are
through Diplomatic means, to send it to your house directly or a bank of your
choice using Diplomatic Courier Service. The most important thing is
that can we
trust you? Once the funds get to you, you take your 30% out and keep
our own 70%
.Your part of this deal is to find a safe place where the funds can be
own part is sending it to you. If you are interested I will furnish you with
more details. Nevertheless, the whole process is simple and we must keep a low
profile at all times. Waiting for your urgent response via my private email:
This business is risk free.
Sgt Robert William Hunt