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:
- "might come to you as a surprise" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mark Rodney" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 2010 21:17:21 +0100
It gives me a great deal of pleasure to write you this mail even when it might come to you as a surprise. I hope you find it of interest.
My name is Mark Rodney. I am an Auditor with a Bank here in Europe . I would like to use this means to ask your assistance in moving some
funds over to your country.
I have in the course of my duties come in contact with some funds that have been inactive for some years now and careful investigation proved
the original depositor of the funds died five years ago.
All attempts to reach the suppose beneficiary of the deposit were fruitless and before it is forfeited to the state, I will like to move
it outside now and this is were I need your assistance.
I look forward to hearing from you and my gratitude for your patience
Tel: 0044 704 571 9172