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)
- ",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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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: "DAVID THORBURN." <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 2010 06:07:01 -0200
Subject: REPLY IMMEDIATELY.
Chief Operating Officer,
I am David Thorburn Chief Operating Officer, Clydesdale Bank. I am getting in touch
with you regarding the estate of a deceased client with similar last name and an
investment placed under our banks management 10 years ago. I believe would be of
interest to you.In 2000, the subject matter; came to our bank to engage in business
discussions with our private banking division. He informed us that he had a financial
portfolio of fifty million united states dollars ($50,000,000,00).i want you to stand
as the bona-fide next of kin to the desease.
My proposal; you share the same surname With our late client; We share the proceeds 50%
for me, 50% for you Should you be interested i shall provide you with more details of
I await your response.