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:
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "await your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Waziri Nicholas" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2011 14:20:27 -0800 (PST)
Subject: he Director of Operations,
Am Mr. Waziri Nicholas, the Director of Operations, Bank and Securities Services, Nigeria. Am contacting you for long over-due inheritance funds of Christian Ellison laying in our bank. The board met today and the unclaimed funds was the major issued discussed.
If I may ask, are you prepared/interested in claiming the funds? If yes; get back to me with the contact information.
Your full names.............
Telephone and Fax numbers...........
Age and Occupation.........
Transaction total sum is $40 Million.
I will give you the full details of how the funds is going to get into your bank account via our bank paying agent/bank.
I await your urgent response with the requested information so that we can proceed.
Mr. Waziri Nicholas.