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:
- ",000,000" (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)
- "cheques " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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)
- kyiv, ukraine for screening and payment on this email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. i was impressed to learn that (Gmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
- email@example.com (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Viktor Yanukovych <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2011 08:53:04 -0800 (PST)
I, Viktor Yanukovych, Prezydent Ukrayiny, has this day, 28.12.2010 19:11 signed some number of laws which include the approval of your own case. See this page (http://www.president.gov.ua/en/news/19042.html).
Concerning you, I have signed a number of cheques which allows you to receive the sum of 6,000,000 (six million euros) as a winning price in the latest Ukrainian government sponsored lottery for the new year bonus which you emerged as one of the lucky five (5) winners.
Please be notified that we are not racists or discriminate in anyway, thus we have made these selection from five (5) continents: Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Australia.
In respect of this, I am mandating you to forward your full data which include the following:
Your full name:
phone number and country:
to Hillary Rodham Clinton Secretary of State Kyiv, Ukraine for screening and payment on this email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was impressed to learn that one of the winners with this email address has received the total aforementioned sum (email@example.com) easily.
Please follow the sincere instructions of my secretary as I and my entire government wish you all the best in this new year and a big congratulations!