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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "% commission" (Beware of any scheme that involves depositing checks or money orders or receiving wire transfers in your bank account and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere, for a percentage of 5-15% of the total. Such offers are *always* fraudulent and you will be liable for the entire amount when the checks, money orders or wire transfers turn out to be fraudulent. Any money already forwarded comes out of *your* pocket then. )
- "cheques " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "JILIN CHEMICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPANY LIMITED" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2011 02:13:25 -0200 (BRST)
Subject: Collection Representative Wanted
JILIN CHEMICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPANY LIMITED
No 9 Longtan Street Longtan District
Jilin City, Jilin Province 132021
We are a Petro-Chemical Industry Located in Jilin Province, China and in
need of Payment Agent/Representatives in North America (USA/Canada),
America and the Australasia. By acting as our Payment Agent, you will be
Collecting payments from these customers we are exporting goods to in
USA/Canada after they must have remitted the payment(s) to you. These
payments are in the form of Cheques only. We need your assistance
because these payments, which are usually in the form of cheques are not
in Chinese Banks because of the differing Banking Systems. For this, you
will be entitled to a 10% commission for each payment you receive.
Subject to the above, any Sincere and Trustworthy Person should supply
the following data/information:
Full Names (As would appear on payment cheque):
Send your response via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Shi Jianxun.
JILIN CHEMICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPANY LIMITED