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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand 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.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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.
- email@example.com (Excite, Italy; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Smith" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 3 Apr 2010 01:51:47 +0200
Subject: Good day,
I am Joe Smith, the client manager of a Finance house here in Europe. I saw your contact during my private
search at the information centre and I have a deep believe that you will be very honest, committed and capable
of assisting me in this business venture.
It is based on this that I am contacting you to stand as the beneficiary to a late client of the Finance House
so that the total sum of $12.5million (Twelve Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) will be released
and paid to you as the next-of-kin to the deceased.
All documents, and proof to enable you get the funds have been carefully worked out as I have secured it from different
offices concerned for the smooth transfer of the fund to you.If this proposal satisfies you, please respond to me with
the following information.FULL NAMES, TELEPHONE/FAX , MOBILE NUMBERS, ADDRESS, AGE / SEX and OCCUPATION.
I anticipate your urgent response to enable us proceed