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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "affidavit of claim" (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. )
- "affidavit " (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Usman Habib." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 10 May 2011 17:34:53 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Your Moment Of Glory.
IMF WORLD REGULATORY OFFICE
INTERNATIONAL FUNDS REGULATORY AUTHORITY
INTER-CONTINENTAL DEBT RECONCILIATION DEPT.
FROM THE DESK OF: HONORABLE MRS. USMAN HABIB.
DIRECTOR; IMF World Regulatory Office.
ATTENTION:PROVISION OF AFFIDAVIT OF CLAIM CERTIFICATE FOR LEGAL COVER/ PROTECTION OF US$15.5M IN FAVOR OF YOU
GOOD DAY TO YOU AND HOW ARE YOU DOING TODAY?
WE ARE WRITING TO INFORM YOU THAT THE FEE WHICH YOU PAID IN HAS
BEEN PICKED UP CORRECTLY AND YOUR FUND IS READY TO BE RELEASED TO YOU.
FOR SECURITY AND SAFETY REASONS WE HAVE BEEN ASKED TO INFORM YOU TO
PLEASE RE-CONFIRM YOUR BANKING DETAILS WHICH YOU WANT YOUR FUND
TRANSFERRED INTO SO THAT THERE ARE NO MISTAKES AT THE POINT AND TIME OF
YOUR TRANSFER OKAY.
CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU.
RESPOND BACK IMMEDIATELY.
MRS. USMAN HABIB .