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:
- "please indicate your interest" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million british pounds" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Greg Halford" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 11 May 2010 23:28:10 -0300
The purpose of this message is to notify you again that you were listed as a
beneficiary to a total sum of [Twelve Million British Pounds] in the codicil
and last testament of the deceased [name now withheld since this is our second
attempt to reach you.
However all legal papers to claim this funds will be processed in your name on
your acceptance. Therefore we request that you kindly forward to us your letter
of acceptance; your current telephone and fax numbers and a forwarding address
to enable us file all necessary documents at the probate registry for this
Please indicate your interest immediately via email for us to proceed and I
shall feed you with full details on the procedure upon receipt of your reply
towards this notice.