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:
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- "hundred thousand united states dollars" (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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Andersom" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 17 May 2010 10:35:24 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: GREETINGS FUND FOR INVESTMENT???
Bank Of Africa
Cotonou Benin Branch,
Av. Jean Paul II,
Carrefour des Trois Banques,
01 BP 2020 - Cotonou.
I am Mr Anderson maco.,one of the Directors in charge of Auditing and Accounting section in Bank Of Africa in Cotonou and also Chairman of Investigating and Auditing Department of this Bank.With due respect and regard,I have decided to contact you on a Business
Transaction that will be very beneficial to both of us and our families in future.
During our Investigation and Auditing in this Bank, my department came across a very huge sum of money belonging to one Deceased Mr.John Paul Getty from United States of America who died on Apr.17,2003 after a brief illness in London Hospital.
As the fund has been dormant in his account with this Bank without any claim of the fund in our custody either from his family or relation because he did not indicate any next of kin to this account incase of death such as these.
Although personally,I keep this information secret within myself and partners to enable the whole plans and idea be profitable and successful during the time of execution.The said amount is U.S $25.5m (Twenty Five Million,five hundred thousand United States Dollars).
As it may interest you to know,I got your impressive informationm through one of my good friends who works with Chamber of commerce on foreign business relations in Exbittion center here in cotonou though I did not disclose the deal to him.
I will not fail to inform you that this transaction is 100% risk free.On smooth Conclusion of this transaction,you will be entitled to 35% of the total sum as gratification,while 5% will be set aside to take care of expenses that may arise during the time of transfer and also telephone bills,while 64% will be for me and my partners.
All other necessary vital information will be sent to you when I hear from you.I suggest you get back to me as soon as possible stating your wish in this deal.I am expecting your urgent reply as soon as you receive this message.Please send your response urgent.
(God bless you And your family )