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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Liguo Zhao" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 28 Mar 2010 21:11:48 +0800
I'm in the process of attaining an attorney that will assist my company in
collecting funds that are outstanding. My company has been in business
15 years and we have not experienced any failure in business. However, we are
currently dealing with a situation never encountered by my company. We made a
purchase and paid for the merchandise. The goods were supposed to be delivered
to our port. It has been over 5 months and we have not received delivery or
notification of re-adjustment. We recommend that our funds be reimbursed to us
as soon as possible. With the assistance of an attorney it will
prove that a resolution should be made and funds collected appropriately.
My company has documentation supporting the case, should this case go before a
judge. Please advise us on your fees, retainer agreement, and any other
information that you would need for this case. Once more, I wish to emphasize
the urgency of this case and urge you to take an earnest attitude.
Currently I'm waiting for your prompt response. I'm hoping you are able to
assist me in this case. Thank you.
Mr. Liguo Zhao
Chief Legal Officer
China National offshore Oil Corp