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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- ",500,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "confidential business" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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: "Mr Martin Van Buren" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2011 01:56:32 -0800
Compliment of the Season,
My name is Mr. Martin Van Buren and I work with the Netherlands Ministry of finance. I am sorry to encroach into your privacy in this manner; I found your address through my countries international Web directory.
Please do accept my sincere apologies if my mail does not meet your personal ethics. However, I am contacting you in order to ask for your assistance on this confidential business proposal with full financial benefits. During our last meeting and examination of various banks accounts, my department found a dormant account with an enormous sum of US$ 6,500,000.00 (Six million five hundred thousand US dollar).
>From my investigation, there was no beneficiary stated concerning this fund /account, which means no one, would ever come to claim it. I will need you to stand and apply to the bank which I will provide to you as the beneficiary to this account. In effecting this transaction, I intend to give 30% of the total funds as compensation for your assistance. I have in my possession all the necessary documents to have this transaction carried out successfully and legally.
I will provide you with a clearer picture or information upon the receipt of your response.
Please send me the details below to my private email address ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
1. Your Full names
2. Your Private phone number
Thanks for your time.
Mr. Martin Van Buren
+31-645-143-389 call me at any time.