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:
- "dear friend" (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)
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Vincent Young Esq" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2011 13:47:01 +0800
Subject: Letter To You!
I wish to intimate you with a request that would be of immense benefit to both of us. Being an executor of WILL, it is possible that we may be tempted to make fortune out of our client situation, when we cannot help it,or left with no better option.
The issue I am presenting to you is about my client who WILL a fortune to his next-of-kin. It was most unfortunate that he and his next-of-kin died on the same day in the sharja plane crash of Tuesday 10 February 2004. I am now faced with confusion of who to pass the fortune to. According to the Malaysia law, the fortune is supposed to be bequeathed to the government.However i don't belong to that school of thought which proposes that the fortune of unlucky people be given to the government.
My purpose of contacting you is to seek your assistance to act as the beneficiary of the inheritance, and lay claim to the legacy(18 million Dollars),which this my unfortunate client bequeathed to his next-of-kin. For now, It is only known to me, as my client has great confident in me. Everything will be left between you and I. The share would be 40% for you and 60%.All I have to do is to Amend the WILL stating you as the beneficiary to the 18 million Dollars.
As I am yet to get your consent on this issue, I prefer not to divulge my full identity so as not to risk being debarred. The Malaysia Bar considers it a breach of the oath of the Malaysia Bar Council. I need not emphasize to you that the sensitivity of this issue need not be toyed with by neglecting its confidentiality.At this point I want to assure you that your true consent, full cooperation and confidentiality are all that are required for us to take full advantage of this great opportunity.
This is an opportunity that people rarely have,you can contact me via e-mail (email@example.com)
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Barr. Vincent Chong.