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:
- "huge amount of money" (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)
- "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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- 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: "MR JACK ZOLEMA" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 6 Mar 2011 18:49:15 +0200
Subject: FOR YOUR KIND ATTENTION
I am Mr. Jack Zolema, a director with one of the government parastatals in South Africa. I want us to go into a mutually beneficial business that needs your strict confidentiality and dedication.
This business involves the transfer of a huge amount of money from my Country (South Africa). It has very little liabilities and it is very safe. The fund to be transferred is Eighteen million United States Dollars (US$18,000,000:00). It is generated from an over - invoiced contract and your job is basically to act as a sub-contractor to my department and get this money out for us. For helping us accomplish this you will get 20% of the funds.
Please, if you are interested kindly respond to this e-mail giving me your full contact details, including your mobile telephone numbers for elaborate discussion on the way forward.
I await your anticipated positive response to my private and confidential email address; email@example.com