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 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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "=?ISO-8859-1?Q?Zammaat?=" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 30 Jan 2011 04:10:24 -0300
Subject: Dear Friend
I am Zammaat Azizan Jerry, an attorney at law. A deceased client of mine that shares the same last name with you, died as a result of a heart-related condition in May 25 2007. Leaving behind a deposit valued at $15.7 million dollars. His heart condition was due to the death of all the members of his family.
I want you to assist in distributing the money left behind by my client before it is confiscated or declared unserviceable by the bank. The bank has issued me a notice to contact the next of kin. My proposition to you is to seek your consent to present you as the next-of-kin and beneficiary of my named client. This will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.
Zammaat Azizan Jerry,
This communication links contained herein, is for the sole use of the intended recipient and may contain information that is confidential or legally protected.