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)
- "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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr Abbas Bashir Mahmud" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 5 Jun 2011 12:01:32 -0700
It is a pleasure to contact you through email, My name is Dr. Abbas Bashir Mahmud a Senior Adviser to President Gadhafi in Libya.
I would like to strike a deal with you which I would like you to keep it secret for both of us,
Contact me for more details, this deal worth Millions of Dollars and it have to be secret between you and I, We are in a deep problem here in Libya and I am looking for a way to run away out of Libya with my family, I don't want to die with President Gadhafi of Libya is better I move out now as the World Power has come into Libya bombing Day by day.
I have the sum of $7.3 Million Dollars which I would like you to help me claim and invest it in your country so that when I move out safely I will join you with my family, for now I am looking for way to run out, this matter is urgent, contact me please so that I can give you more Details, I make up my mind to leave President Gadhafi and run away because I was in his compound when the USA Firepower jet bombs his 4 stories building.
This is no more joke, I know now that President Gadhafi and his cabinets will be in serious problem, I need your help I will give you 30% of the fund if you can help me and keep everything secret, I want to run away to a nearby country to save my life and my family life then I will find away to change to another passport and then change my name.
I cannot bear the air strike because my life and my family life is danger now.
Dr Abbas Bashir Mahmud