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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "million us 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)
- "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)
- "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: Ahmed Bello <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 5 Aug 2011 20:03:53 +0200
Subject: I NEED YOUR URGENT ASSISTANCE!
I NEED YOUR URGENT ASSISTANCE!
How are you today, hope fine. Please this is an invitation for partnership.Can you in all sincerity partner with me?it is legal and 100% risk free.
In my department we discovered an abandoned sum of $10.6 million US Dollars. In an account that belongs to one of our foreign customer who died along with his entire family in a Car Bomb Blast in Iraq.
Since his supposed next of kin died along side with him at the Bomb blast, there is nobody to claim the left over balance in the account. It is therefore upon this discovery that I and other officials in my department decided to seek your assistance and present you to the bank as his Next of kin.
If you accept I would give you the guidelines of how we can achieve this transfer of the balance (10. 6Million Dollars) to your account, And we will share the money 50-50%.
I expect that you will give me your telephone and fax numbers for easy communication with you and for more details.
Mr Ahmed Bello.