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:
- "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)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Troy Kolberg" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 2011 04:06:17 +0800
Subject: Please read & reply immediately
I hereby write this email to you with great sorrow in my heart and heavy tears in my eyes simply because my Doctor just told me that i will die in three months time. I saw your e-mail contact on internet when i was searching for a God fearing person that will assist me in carrying out my wish. I grew up as an orphan and so sad that i don't have anybody/family member to take care of my wealth despite my success in life.
As a result of this development,i would like to will my money which is deposited in a financial institution to you on trust and fearness of God. I implore you to use the money judiciously to build charity organizations for the saints and the needy. I authorize 20% of the total sum in your favour as compensation and entitlement While 80% of the money should go to charity organizations and orphanage homes. The total money in question is $10.5million dollars and i will provide you with other informations once you indicate your willingness.