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:
- "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)
- "email@example.com" (this email address looks like addresses used in "ATM SWIFT card" scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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: OFFICE FIEL <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 24 Mar 2011 08:39:16 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: CONTACT THE BANK FOR YOUR ATM MASTER CARDS IMMEDIATELY
ATM PAYMENT CENTRE
PAYMENT OF YOUR $1,5 MILLION DOLLARS FUND
We wish to officially inform you that we have Credited and configured your fund into
an Master Card also we have concluded the delivery arrangement with the delivery
company regarding the shipment of your Master Card worth US$1.5 million
What you have to do now is to contact The Atm Remittance Office in Benin Republic as soon as you receive this E-mail with this secret code (0047-atm) to know when you will receive your ATM CARD. Secondly, make sure you reconfirm your Postal address and direct telephone number to them again to avoid any mistake on issuing your ATM CARD to another person. Therefore, contact them immediately with their contact address as stated below:
bank name-----------Apex Bank Plc
Contact Person................ Mr. johnson. sharry
Contact E-mail................ firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone......................... ...... (00229)-9961-4744
Note; ATM PAYMENT CENTER BENIN REPUBLIC will be waiting to receive your E-mail with your contact address and you have to contact them now with this secret code (0047-atm) so that your ATM CARD will get to you before the year runs down. I will be waiting to hear from you as soon as you receive the ATM CARD.
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