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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Bill Betterman" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 13 May 2010 02:07:02 -0400
Subject: I ASK FOR YOUR ASISTANCE
As you very well know, Iraq is gradually undergoing a rebuilding process in some parts and there is much need for reconstruction. I am Bill Betterman from the hospitality state (Mississippi), an army contractor attached to the US Military force for the sole purpose of Reconstruction works in some parts of Iraq. I evaluate the level of destruction and offer professional advice inline with the way they intend rebuilding. With no doubt, work has been risky and challenging as we sometimes collide head on with armed insurgents and loose some soldiers during confrontation.
On the early hours of 4th July 2009 I lost a friend whom I had known for 12years during one of these confrontations. It was a very sad day but at about 1100hrs during a normal inspection routine along Haifa Street, built and occupied by the late Saddam Hussein while he was still alive and one of the hide outs of the Al Qaeda and Ayman al-Zawahiri forces. I, along side with 2 soldiers proceeded to a marked site and as I commenced evaluation under close guard by the 2 soldiers, I discovered an unusual bulge in a cellar, which I presumed to be storage room and as I proceeded to have a closer look at it, I kicked a metal covering and found several metal boxes (6 in number) Piled on top each other and locked with a padlock. On forcing the boxes open, we discovered several armored weapons including bullets. One of the boxes was filled with hard drugs (heroine) and two to my amazement was filled with money.
On discovery of this money, I and the soldiers for hours counted bundles of the currencies which amounted to about $23.5M. I believe however that all these belongs to the Al Qaeda and Ayman al-Zawahiri forces, and because of this reason, I instructed the soldiers with me to handover all the boxes containing the drugs and amours to our superiors in the US army and agreed to keep the funds to ourselves, so as to help establish ourselves when we return from Iraq. Presently, we have the money hidden in a safe and untraceable location only known to us.
Why I am explaining all our findings to you is to seek for your assistance and immense contribution to the actualization of our dream of getting these funds out from here. We are in desperate need of a reliable and trustworthy person who will receive, secure and protect these boxes containing the money for us until our assignment ends here. Since Iraq is getting unsafe and more dangerous everyday especially upon the departure of large number of US Military troop, however, as contractors we are still here, but we cannot afford to leave these boxes here in Iraq for any reason and knowing fully well that these were funds used in sponsoring terrorist attacks on our innocent humans. We have no idea what could happen next. This is a true story of what we came across here in Iraq. I intend to include some pictures I took here and my ID's issued by the US army and government for you to know better whom you are dealing with but I will include that in my next email to you. I assure and
promise to give you 25% of this
My Sincere Regards,