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)
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "very 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Roman Khodorkovsky" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2011 00:16:27 -0000
Subject: Important Message
I am Roman Khodorkovsky son of the jailed Russian former richest person and oil mogul Mikhail Khodorkovsky. I am writing you as a matter of utmost priority for mutual business assistance as a result of the current ordeal of my family.
I am currently under the protective custody of the Irish Government (political asylum) as a result of development back home in Russia. I am afraid to go back to Russia at this time and cannot openly invest the money my father deposited in a private security deposit company in Ireland.
The amount in question is $40 Million USD. I will like you to present yourself before this security deposit company as the foreign partner of my father under whose name the money was deposited in 2002. I will be supplying you with every information and documentation necessary for you to receive this money on my behalf and invest same in any business that we both will decide in due course.
To successfully consummate this business, you will be required to travel to either Ireland or Canada. The security deposit company has its International headquarters in Canada and European office in Ireland. So depending on which location is closest to you, you will be traveling there to sign for the release document and collect the money.
My family and I have agreed to compensate you with 30% ($12 Million USD) of the money for your participation. Also, you will serve as an adviser in all future investment of my share of the money pending when the time is right for me to openly and actively do business.
Please get back to me via telephone and email as soon as possible with your decision on this proposal. This will enable me supply you the information necessary for the claim.
Finally, I will like to add here that this is a very confidential transaction and should therefore be treated as such. I am counting on your integrity, honesty and trust since I do not really know you. I am hoping that this meeting will be the beginning of a life-time partnership between us. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.