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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "urgent assistance" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Vivian Halibu" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 4 Jul 2010 18:45:03 -0000
Subject: URGENT DEAR.
AM MISS VIVIAN HALIBU 19 YEARS OLD ONLY DOUGHTER TO LATE MR. THAMOS HALIBU,IT IS MY PLEASURE TO CONTACT YOU TO ASSIST ME IN AN INVESTMENT PROJECT OVER THERE IN YOUR COUNTRY WITH MY INHERITANCE FUND LEFT FOR ME BY MY LATE DADDY HERE IN A SUSPENSE DOLLAR ACCOUNT WITH A BANK HERE IN MY COUNTRY. PRESENTLY I RESIDE IN IN A CHURCH PREMISES HERE IN MY COUNTRY REPUBLIC OF COTE D'IVOIRE,MY UNCLE HAVE BEEN A LION TO MY LIFE AND DO NOT NEED MY SURVIVAL SINCE THE DEATH OF MY PARENTS AM IN SERIOUS DANGER AS THE ONLY SURVIVED DOUGTHER OF MY PARENTS,THIS IS THE REASON WHY I ANTICIPATE FOR YOUR URGENT ASSISTANCE IN RETRIEVAL OF THE SUM (US$1.6 MILLION USDOLLARS) FROM THE BANK TO YOUR POSITION AS MY PRINCIPAL PARTNER WHOSE ACCOUNT WILL BE USED IN RECEIVING MY INHERITANCE SUM FROM THE BANK AND ALSO HELP ME TO COME OVER YOUR COUNTRY FOR MY LIFE SAFETY AND CONTINUATION OF MY EDUCATION ALONG WITH THE PROPOSED INVESTMENT PROJECT WHICH I INTEND OPENING OVER IN YOUR COUNTRY THROUGH YOUR DIRECTIVES.
I INTEND TO GO INTO PROPERTY MANAGEMENT, REAL ESTATE AND HOTEL INVESTMENT DEPENDING ON WHAT YOUR PROFESSIONAL ADVICE WILL BE. YOU WILL ASSIST ME AS A RESIDENT OF THE COUNTRY TO ENSURE THAT THE INVESTMENT IS CARRIED OUT SUCESSFULY ACCORDING TO THE LAWS OF YOUR COUNTRY IMMEDIATELY MY FUND IS TRANSFERRED TO YOUR POSITION AS MY PRINCIPAL PARTNER. MY SINCERE REGARDS TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY AS I AWAIT FOR YOUR REPLY ONCE YOU CONSIDER MY PROPOSAL BENEFICIAL TO YOU FOR MORE DETAILS. DO RESPOND TO ME THROUGH MY PRIVATE EMAIL AT email@example.com
I ANXIOUSLY LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR SINCERE MESSAGE FOR MORE DETAILS.