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:
- "cheque " (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 next of kin scam.
- 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.
- +447024042218 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Harry Carl" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2011 07:57:59 -0800
Subject: Soliciting for your urgent partnership
Mr. Harry Carl
125 London Wall
London, EC2Y 5AJ
My name is Harry Carl I work with JP Morgan chase bank here in London; I am contacting you to know if you can make a deal with me, I discovered an unclaimed funds of USD$65.7M in our bank. Of one late American contractor Richard Graham.
He supplied petroleum equipment to One Trident Corporation, a multi-national oil corporation operating from London-England, UK. The payment has been processed and the cheque has been paid into his account but the Bank is finding it difficult to get in touch with him. The last we heard from him was when he made a supply to a company in Haiti, and from our recent findings he died in Tsunami in Haiti as a result of the earthquake. And we have tried to get across to any of the family members all to no avail
The deal between you and I now is that, I will present you as the next of kin and send your information to the authority for legal approval documents to enable you claim this fund. Actually I dont have to involve myself officially because of my job, but I know what is required to get this funds released to you. Without taking much of your time, I will advise that you get in touch with me for more details. On my personal email: email@example.com
Please if you are not willing and interested in helping me kindly delete this e-mail from your computer and pretend you never got it.