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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "with absolute secrecy" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Thomas Allen" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 13 May 2011 01:20:05 -1200
Good day to you and your family, i apologize if the content here under are contrary to your moral ethics but please treat with absolute secrecy and personal.
My name is Dr.Thomas Allen I am From England working with the American soldier in Iraq as a medical doctor to the Third infantry Division in Iraq. I and my partner moved a huge amount of money belonging to Saddam Hussein, we need Assistance to secure the fund. You can go to this web links to understand better:
Since we are working for the government we cannot keep these funds, we have decided to look for someone to help us secure the money in a foreign account, the amount involve is US$19,700,000.00, (NINETEEN MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND USA DOLLAR) this is why I have contacted you, so you can help us secure the fund. This business is confidential and it should not be discussed with anyone, There is no risk involved whatsoever.
I really don't know how soon you access your e-mail so we can discuss further, Thanks and looking forward to hear from you.
Thomas Allen (Dr).