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:
- ",500,000" (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)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Williams Challas" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 13 May 2011 3:50:21 +0900
Subject: CAN I TRUST YOU?
I am writing this letter only to call for your assistance. Before
anything I want you to support my request and be in good faith with me. I
know you do not know me in person and we don't have any
conversation before. Well, let me tell you about myself.
I'm Mr. Williams Challas, I work as a banker here in Abidjan, Cote
d'Ivoire. I inform you that the late Dr. Richard Samuel of America is dead, he
was working with the United Nation here in Abidjan Cote D'Ivoire before he dead.
Before his death he deposited the sum of 3.5 million Euros in cash.
This money is still in the Department of Transfer, which I am the Director.
All I ask is you send me all the required information
your bank account so I can transfer the 3,500,000 Euros in your account.
In addition, I will give you 30% of the total sum as soon as you help me to receive
the money through your bank. Please try and follow this transaction very
quickly, there is no risk in this transaction. Everything it will cost you is truth and
honesty that we need in this transaction.
I am waiting for your message through my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone: +22565264737.
Thank you for your understanding,
Mr. Williams Challas.