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:
- "please endeavor to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "PATRICK KWO CHAN" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:18:39 +0200
Subject: APPEAL FOR URGENT ASSISTANCE !!!
REQUEST FOR URGENT ASSISTANCE
APPEAL FOR URGENT ASSISTANCE !!!
It is understandable that you might be a little bit apprehensive because you do not know me but I have a of mutual interest to share with you. I got your reference in my search for someone who suits my proposed business relationship.
I am Mr. Patrick K. W Chan Executive Director of Hang Seng Bank Ltd. I have an obscured business suggestion for you. I will need you to assist me in executing a business project from Hong Kong to your country. It involves the transfer of a large sum of money. Everything concerning this transaction shall be legally done without hitch. Please endeavor to observe utmost discretion in all matters concerning this issue.
Once the funds have been successfully transferred into your account, we shall share in the ratio to be agreed by both of us.
I will prefer you reach me on my private email address below (firstname.lastname@example.org) and finally after that I shall furnish you with more informations about this operation.
Please if you are not interested delete this email and do not hunt me because I am putting my career and the life of my family at stake with this venture. Although nothing ventured is nothing gained.Do send me the following details when responding back to me.
. YOUR FULL NAMES:
. YOUR HOUSE AND MOBIL PHONE NUMBERS:
. DATE/PLACE OF BIRTH:
. YOUR OCCUPATION:
. YOUR RESIDENT ADDRESS:
. COUNTRY OF RESIDENT:
Your earliest response to this letter will be appreciated.
Mr.Patrick K. W Chan.