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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "may come to you as a surprise" (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)
- "confidential business" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "can i trust you?" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "diplomatic immunity" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Casmir Makawa <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2011 00:20:03 -0800 (PST)
Subject: I NEED YOUR URGENT REPLY
I know that this letter may come to you as a surprise as we do not know each other but for the purpose of introduction my name is Sgt Casmir Makawa a native Liberian soldier attached to the American and British Allied forces in Iraq.
In line with the event that took place here in Iraq on April, 2003, as you know we are being attacked by insurgents everyday and car bombs. We managed to move funds belonging toSaddam Hussein's family in 2003. This is a very confidential business proposal, if you could maintain the confidentiality, honesty and competency required on this project to actualize our aims.
The total amount is US$25 Million dollars in cash, mostly 100 dollar bills, this money has been kept in Tikrit outside Baghdad for sometime but with the proposed troop Reduction by president Obama, we are afraid that the money will be discovered hence we want to move this money for safe keeping and investment pending the completion of our assignment here as i will immediately retire from Military after the withdrawal of all allied forces and re-locate with my family to your country for investment . You can go to this web link to read about events that took place: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2988455.stm
We are ready to compensate you with 30% of the funds, No strings attached, just for you to help us move it out of Iraq. Iraq is a war zone, so we plan on using diplomatic means in shipping the money out as military Cargo using diplomatic immunity to any country in USA, Europe or Africa. I expect to know from you if you are able or not to enable me know the next step to take. I will give you an insight of what is on the ground and will make more details available when we might have established conducive atmosphere.
Can I trust you? When you receive this letter, kindly send your contact details Signifying your interest including your most confidential telephone numbers for quick communication.
With regards from,
Sgt. Casmir Makawa