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:
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Sify; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Richard Martins <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 5 Aug 2011 14:35:19 -0300
RE: COLLECTION OF FUND (US$25,000,000.00) UNDER SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT.
Pardon me if I have offended you by contacting you for such a big transaction through an ordinary letter which makes it suspicious considering the type of fraud proposals moving around the world today.
However, I was advised to explain this transaction to you on a face to face meeting.I could not do this because of the situation in the world today not being sure of your reaction.
I am Dr Richard Martins, a Consultant and Broker from Kingston Jamaica. I was hired by a Japanese Businessman to broker an investment deal between him and an oil company in Venezuela.
This deal was executed in January, 2003 and matured for termination in January 2005. On maturity, the Japanese Businessman and the oil firm decided to terminate the investment in cash to avoid payment of Investment Tax which amounted to several millions of US Dollars to the American Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
A special arrangement was made between a top Japanese bankers working with Japanese bank in New York, the Oil Company and the businessman to terminate the investment in cash payment under a fictitious name, with an Arrangement to change it later with a power of attorney which they Prepared and handed over to the banker.
I was directly involved, well paid and mandated to organized and carry out the deal. All the cash was withdrawn in June 2009 and transported to EUROPE by direct bank vault delivery to a finance company for Safekeeping pending the collection.
The real content of the boxes was not declared to the storage as it was Delivered as personal family treasure worth US$25M. The certificates for the storage, secret codes for the opening of the Boxes and its keys were all handed over to me. Mr. Takashi the Florida Businessman was planning to go to Europe by August 2005 with me for the collection when the unexpected happened in Hurricane Katrina Mishap, a Natural disaster which claimed his life and that of the top banker.
This left me devastated and confused as I have not yet handed over the Deposit details to the owner and the power of attorney prepared for the Change which was signed was still with the banker in his office which was lost.
Since last December the diplomatic storage manager has been calling me to bring or tell the owner to come over for collection.
Since then, I have been finding any reliable person to collect these Consignments under special and well negotiated arrangement until I came across your details.
Be rest assured that this transaction has been well Organized, 100%
safe,legal, and should be kept very confidential.
Signify your interest by getting back to me as soon as Possible via;
Dr Richard Martins.