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:
- "transferred into your bank account" (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)
- "urgent assistance" (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: "Miss. linda J Johnson" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2011 07:01:26 -0800 (PST)
Subject: From Miss Linda Johnson.
From Miss Linda Johnson.
My name is Miss Linda Johnson,I am 20 years old girl and looking for an urgent help, I have an inheritance from my father to invest in your country, please I want you to stand as my late father business partner in calming this money and help me come to your country for my education, the amount is $17.600,000 U.S.D. Please reply with your full details. Thanks. I go to the bank where my late father deposited the fund and ask them to give me all the documents and transfer the fund to me. But they said that my late father told them that before they can allow me get access to the fund I will bring to them a Foreign Partner so that is why I need your urgent assistance please help me out. What can fatherless girl can do without the only inheritance from my late father.
Please I need your help urgently because the problem in this country right now I want you to help me get this fund transferred into your bank account then you will help me to come to your country for my education. Please if you are willing to help me get this fund transferred into your bank account reply me with your full details so that I can give you the bank contact for you to be in contact with them for them to make the transfer into your bank account which you will provide.
Ms. Linda Johnson.