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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million british pounds" (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)
- "can i completely trust you?" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "your humble assistance" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Felix Owen" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2011 05:37:54 -0800 (PST)
Subject: PLEASE RESPOND...........
I am Mr.Felix Owen from London.
I am an account officer to Mr. Rafik Hariri, Born in Lebanon in 1944, The late Rafik Hariri was a Lebanese self-made billionaire and business tycoon, and was five times Prime Minister of Lebanon. You can view this site for confirmation.
I got your mail through my private search and out of Desperation I
decided to reach you through this medium. Mr. Rafik Hariri deposit
36,759,000 million British Pounds in a bank here in London and I
want to invest this money in your country The need to move out this
money arose when the Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that some of
the money held in dormant accounts would be used to fund youth and
community projects for you can confirm this in the website below.
I am in a sincere desire of your humble assistance in this regard.
Now permit me to ask these few questions:-
(1) Can I completely trust you?
(2) I am ready to offer you 35% of this (£36 759 000.00) I hope it
is acceptable by you?
Please, consider this and get back to me as soon as possible for
Thank you so much.