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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Debra Price" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 29 Aug 2010 00:00:50 +0200
Subject: Your $500,000 Compensation Fund
your email/name just like mine is on the scam victims compensation list put together by the Nigeria Government Scam Victims Reconciliation Commission. I have fallen for various Scams in the past and with this compensation exercise, I have been able to bounce back to my feet. Right now I am the happiest person on earth because I have just received my own $500,000 compensation money and unlike the over $4,000 I spent dealing with wrong and fraudulent offices in the past, I spent only $205 for the paper work. This is all it will cost you to get your own money, take note of this. I will advise you to contact Rev. Father Peter Clever. He is so kind and knows just how to set things right. He works with the commission and is in charge of the on going compensation exercise. He has been trying to get in touch with you and has asked that I try to do the same when I get back to the States and I am doing just that. His email address is email@example.com
Mrs. Debra Price.