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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr Peter Thompson" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2011 13:41:56 -0000
Subject: Mail From Mr Peter Thompson
I write you this mail with utmost sincerity and truth,
hoping you will be of great help to me. I am Peter Thompson,
a 61yrs old english farmer living with Cancer. My condition at home
is so bad that my doctor has confirmed that I don't have time left.
I am contacting you in regards to my daughter, who is just in high school,
with nobody to care of her when I am gone.I need to get a guardian who will
invest my funds in estate business and manage the investment till my daughter
comes of good age and maturity.
You will be given all the rights to claim the benefits and
secure for my Jessica.I wouldn't want my lazy cousin whom might
be with my child to be aware of such plan till she grows because
they will want to rip me off and treat her bad.
I will want to give you the authority to act on my behalf, because
my girl will be delighted to move to your country. Meanwhile, I would
not want her to be involved with any other thing than attending her
lectures in school.
I will send you details when you write me back
Mr Peter Thompson