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)
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "foreign remittance manager" (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)
- "urgent assistance" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Larsan Barro <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 5 Aug 2011 22:18:26 +0530 (IST)
Subject: I Need Your Assistance.
Greetings and compliments of the season,
I Know This Message Will Come to You as a Surprise. Please due welcome the letter and help me out as you finish reading. I Am (Larsan Barro) secretary to the Foreign Remittance Manager. (Bank of Africa)B.O.A.Here in Burkina Faso. West Africa, I Need Your Urgent Assistance In Transferring The Sum Of ($8.2) Million To Your Account.
This Money Has Been Dormant For Years In Our Bank Without Claim. I Want The Bank To Release The Money To You As The Nearest Person To Our. Deceased Customer, Upon Your Reply. I Will Give You Details on How the Business Will Be Executed, and I hope that you will not expose or betray this trust and confident that I am about to repose on you for mutual benefits of our families.
I am waiting for your response!!!
Have a great day