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:
- "keep this confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Yves Dudli" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2011 04:24:51 +0100
Subject: Please reply asap
This is my third time of sending you an e-mail without any reply, I told you about a deal on an investment account total 10.5million USD of late Mr. Alfred who shares the same last name with you.
My proposal to you is that since I have exclusive access to his file, you will be made the beneficiary of these funds. On verification of the details I make available to Bank holding funds, my company through our lawyer, will instruct the bank to make payments to you. You do not have to have known him. I know this sounds a bit heavy and complex but believe and trust me as it is achievable.
For your assistance, I propose we split the funds in half and share it equally. This practice is not unusual in the banking sector here in China. The other option is that the funds will revert to the state, where it may be shared by State officials and you and I will end up as losers.
Nothing ventured is nothing gained and that success and riches never come easy or on a platter of gold. This is the one truth I have learned from my private investment clients. We should act swiftly on this. If you are in agreement, please get back to me immediately via this email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am contacting you independently and no one is informed of this communication. Please do keep this confidential.
I await your prompt response.