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:
- "western union" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "money gram" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- This email message is a company representative scam. This type of job offer scam involves the cashing of fake checks and money orders. It could expose you to losses of tens of thousands of dollars as well as to the risk of criminal prosecution and (in some cases) imprisonment.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Holou Trade Co., Ltd" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 6 Jun 2011 01:15:57 -0400
Subject: JOB OPPORTUNITY!!!
Holou Trade Co., Ltd
117Horse Guards Road
Address: 16/G, Development Centre,No. 3 Linjiang Road,
Zhujiang New City
Guangzhou Guangdong P.R.China 510623
We are into Manufacturing of Fabrics, Textiles and Furniture Wares with numerous customers home and abroad. We produce various clothing materials, batiks, assorted fabrics and traditional costume.
We need a honest representative from your country who will be in charge of all our payments from our clients/customers, because most of our customers pay us through Certified checks which are not negotiable here in China. This brought to our quest to employ a credible and trustworthy person as our representative to handle our payments. We have lots of payments made from our clients sitting in our accounting department in china. In order to maintain our long lasted relationship with our customers we have employed some workers in the past but they are not enough since we are growing rapidly. This would not affect your present job, but will serve as another stream of income to your good self.
As our Representative in your country, your tasks are;
1. Receive payment from Customers
2. Cash it at any cashing point or at your banks and you will deduct 10% which will be your percentage/pay on each Payment processed.
3. Forward the balance after deduction of (percentage/pay) to any of our offices you will be contacted to send payment to. (Payment is to be forwarded by Western Union Money Transfer/Money Gram).
Note: As a representative of our company; you will be entitled to 10% of any amount you receive from customers on behalf of the company as payments for outstanding debts or goods that they want to buy.
This work takes only 3-7 hours per week. You'll have a lot of free time doing another work, but this opportunity is very challenging and you should understand it. We are looking for a worker who is satisfied with our requirements and will be an earnest assistant. We are glad to offer this job position to you. We request you to send your information listed below ASAP, so we can forward it to our clients.
STREET ADDRESSES NO:
Mr. Ruben Perez