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:
- "million united states 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)
- "await your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "ecowas " (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Zubazu Zalani <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2011 05:22:08 +0900 (KST)
Subject: CHEAK YOUR BULK AND INBOX I SENT YOU A MAIL
FOR YOUR PRIVACY URGENT
I am Dr Zubaru Zalani the Manager of Bill & Exchange Department with AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK BURKINA FASO WEST AFRICA (ADB). I am writing to request for your assistance to transfer the sum of $20.5Million United States Dollars into your account.
The above sum belongs to one of our deceased customer who died along with his entire family in a plane crash that took place in july 2000 in africa, the late Mr Mr. Steve Moore from Munich,Germany was a contractor with ECOWAS (ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF WEST AFRICAN STATES) and since after his death the fund has been in a dormant account and of which after further investigation regarding to the deceased account, I discovered that the deceased died with his suppose next of kin.
The request for your assistance and maximum cooperation as a foreigner is for you to act as next of kin to the deceased so that our bank will accord you the recognition and have the fund transfer to your account. I also wish to inform you that i know how to go about the whole process until you confirm the fund in your account. I suggest you go through the website below for more informations about the Plane Crash that lead to the tragic death of the deceased and his family:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/859479.stm
I await your urgent response and do call me for more discussion.
Dr Zubaru Zalani.