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)
- "million united states dollars" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Mradams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2010 05:50:57 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: FROM THE OFFICE OF MR ADAMS ALI
FROM: Mr Adms Ali
Bills & aExchange Manager
BANK OF AFRICA (BOA)
BURKINA-FASO WEST AFRICA.
Sorry to distract your attention, I am Mr Adams Ali the bill and exchange manager in the bank of Africa Ouagadougou Burkina Faso. In my department, I found the deposited fund amounted $30M (Thirty Million United States Dollars) owned by a disease customer who died in the air crash with his entire family. However, I shall detail you with the full information as soon as I hear from you.
Can you be able and capable to assist me by providing me with your receiving bank account where this fund will lodge in your favour?
I shall give you 30% of the total sum as soon as this fund hits your account and I shall visit you in your country for the shearing. Please this is very confidential.
If you are interested, please forward me the bellow
Bank name and address
Thank for your anticipated co-operation
Contact me through this email id (email@example.com)
Mr adams ali