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.
- 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: "Brian Heather" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 2010 23:00:27 +0200
Subject: Mystery Shopper Vacancy!!!
We are currently seeking mystery shoppers in your locality.
1. You will receive funding for the assignment.
2. You will receive the Instruction for your assignment via email on the location and details of the assignment.
3. You are to complete the assignment as fast and discreetly as possible.
4. You will be asked to visit a business location to conduct business be it a restaurant, shopping store etc.
You will receive a flat sum of $200/ 100GBP/ 150 Euros per assignment. The company will furnish you with all expense needed for the assignment and any other expense incurred during the course of executing your assignment.
Note: You are to follow all instructions given to you to the fullest.
KINDLY SEND YOUR INFORMATION BELOW TO PROCEED ON FIRST ASSIGNMENT TO (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Your Full Name:
Your Address (NOT P.O Box):
City, State, Zip:
Name of Bank (for Wire Transfer):