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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "i will like you to " (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: "Rain Hills" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2011 19:15:57 -0800
My Name is Mr Rain Hills Staff of United Overseas Bank. I would like you to indicate your interest to receive the transfer of $8.5Million Dollars. I will like you to stand as the next of kin to my late client whose account is presently dormant for claims. Please once you are interested in my business proposal.Further details of the transfer will be forwarded to you as soon as I get a responce from you.Kindly go through the below link to confirm the genuineness of the deceased death.
His name was Mr Christian Eich, 57, he was an engineer who ran carmaker BMW's museum, his wife and two children and his wife's parents were also among the victims.There is no one to claim the funds so I am giving you this proposal to act as a beneficary/trustee of the funds and I will offer to you 35% of the said funds,