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)
- "a security company " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Miss Amy Robinson" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2010 06:15:53 +0700
Subject: PLEASE REPLY ASAP
My name is Sgt,Amy Robinson. I am an American soldier with Swiss background,
serving in the military with the army 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 ( $ 3.2 million u.s.dollars )three million, two
hundred 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, this is no stolen
money, and there are no danger involved. I am presently in a hospital
recovering from injuries sustained in a suicide bomb attack.
Source of money:
Some money in various currencies was discovered in barrels at a farmhouse near
one of Saddam's 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 week.
Please view website for confirmation;
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 move the money to a security
company in bangkok thailand as a diplomatic baggage. They are now waiting for
us to provide the name of beneficiary who they will transfer the funds to. The
reason i want you to claim the funds on my behalf is that as a soldier, i
cannot present a concrete evidence on how i made such a big amount of money
down here. Besides the US Government is trying their best to keep their eyes on
soldiers here inorder to effect a high level of discipline among us.The moment i
am sure that you are willing to assist me, i will give you the information of
the security company and the security code of the baggage.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 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 aspossible, my only way of communication is email.
Yours in Service.
SERGEANT Amy Robinson Camp MXP-512 Third Infantry Division Unit(T.I.D.U),