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:
- "necessary legal documents" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "James Patton"<email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 2010 21:53:48 +0100
Subject: 2ND NOTICE AGAIN-
We wish to notify you again that you were listed as a Heir to the total sum of (Three Million Six Hundred Thousand British Pounds) in the codicil and last testament of our deceased client. Name now withheld since this is our second letter to you.
We are reaching you the second time because her instruction stipulates that this fund should be paid directly to you upon her death.
If you receive this notice, we request you to kindly acknowledge officially to enable us file in all necessary legal documents to the paying bank for the urgent release of your inheritance.
Please call urgently or send an acknowledgement email to enable us process your inheritance.