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:
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- "can i completely trust you?" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "your humble assistance" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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: "BARR, E O PABLO" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2011 06:09:52 +0100
Subject: From Barr, Edward O Pablo (Can I completely trust you my dear?).
This is for your attention.
I want to drop you a quick note because I did not hear back from you concerning the information I sent you the other day. In case you did not receive the letter introducing my intent, I am Barrister Edward Ortiz Pablo from Spain. I am the personal attorney to Mr. Rafik Al Hariri, Born in Lebanon in 1944, the late Rafik Al Hariri was a Lebanese self-made millionaire and business tycoon, and He was five times Prime Minister of Lebanon. Please you are advice to view this site for confirmation.
I got your mail through my private search and out of Desperation I decided to reach you through this medium. Mr. Rafik Al Hariri deposit 14,659,000 million Euro in a bank here in Spain before his sudden death in the year 2005 and I want to invest this money in your country as non of his family member/relatives knows about the fund, The need to move out this money arose when the European Community Leaders generally agreed that some of the money held in dormant accounts would be used to fund youth and community projects for you can confirm this in the website below.
I am in a sincere desire of your humble assistance in this regard. Now permit me to ask these few questions: -
(1) Can I completely trust you?
(2) I am ready to offer you 25% of this (14,659,000.00 euros) I hope it is acceptable by you?
Please consider this and get back to me as soon as possible through my personal email address: email@example.com for more details,
Thank you so much.
Barr, Edward Ortiz Pablo