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)
- "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)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "i will advice you " (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "K. Maha" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 18 May 2011 01:11:05 -0000
Subject: For your kind attention.
I will be very glad if you do assist me to relocate the sum of $6,200,000.00 us dollars into your personal bank account, this will be for the benefit of both of us.
This is a genuine business transaction only I cannot operate it alone without using a Foreigner according to the laws guiding my bank, that is why i am contacting you in this manner to help me stand before my bank as the beneficiary to claim this fund into your bank account, for assisting me to actualize this better opportunity, you will be entitled to have 30% from the total fund while 70% will be for me, as a matter of fact, what i need is your maximum cooperation and to provide a valid bank account where my bank will transfer this money for the benefit of you and I. By indicating your interest on assurance of trust I will send you the full details and how this business will be executed.
Most importantly, please I will advice you to keep this business proposal as a top secret between you and me. Or delete it immediately in your email box if you are not interested in this fund transaction business. Your urgent response to this mail will be highly appreciated.
Yours sincerely friend