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:
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "can i trust you?" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Tunde Babalola." <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2010 17:47:16 -0500
Subject: Mutual Business Relationship Opportunity
Greetings to you my friend.
I know this will come to you as a surprise because you do not know me.
I am Mr.Tunde Babalola; I work in the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN)
as Project Director, formally known called National Electric Power Authority
and courier department. I got your contact in my search for a honest person
and some one I could trust. Can I trust you?
I want you to help me clear this package that is already in Europe which I
shipped through our Power Holding Commission Nigeria (PHCN) accredited courier
agent but the contents of the package is $21,000,000.00 all in $100.00 bills,
but the courier company does not know that it is money that I have in the
package all I want you to do for me now is to give me your mailing address,
your private phone and fax, and I hope that at the end of the day, you will
have 30% and 70% will be for me . My identity must not be revealed to anybody.
If this arrangement is okay by you, you can call or e-mail me for security
reasons other modalities will be discussed as soon as you get back to me.
Best regards to your family,
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