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)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: (sent from abused email account)
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2010 15:12:33 -0800
Subject: This Is Our Last Notice To You.
Good day to you. I may have to trouble your sense of personal achievement and reward for an Opportunity properly taken advantage of.
We wish to notify you again that you were listed as a beneficiary to the total sum of US$21,000,000.00 Dollars in the intent of the deceased (name now withheld since this is our second letter to you)
We contacted you because you bear the surname identity and therefore can present you as the beneficiary to the inheritance since there is no written will.
To verify these funds in escrow, please call the Automated Number of the Bank and follow the prompt:
+1 (213) 785-8749
Pass code: 8676
Account number 89993883.
Pin number. 7761.
All the papers will be processed in your acceptance. In your acceptance of this deal, we request that you kindly forward to us your letter of acceptance, your current telephone and fax numbers and a forwarding address to enable us file necessary documents at our high court probate division for the release of this sum of money in your favor
1. Full Name:
2. Your Telephone Number :
3. Your Contact Address:
Get back to me through the following contact mail address (email@example.com)