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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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 pounds" (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)
- ",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)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "TERRY SUTTON" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 6 Aug 2011 14:40:51 +0200
Subject: PARTNERSHIP PROPOSAL.?
I am the Finance Manager of a leading bank in Scotland seeking partnership for a pending business project I have at hand ready to be executed without hitches. I will give to you a detailed explanation of this project which I prefer to call a "DEAL" if I have your positive response. The business is 100% risk free because I have fashioned out means to give it an excellent outcome.
In an attempt to throw light on this business deal, a month ago a Kuwaiti multinational company opted an overdraft from our bank and was over invoiced with an amount of 12,000,000 GBP [Twelve Million Pounds]. I seek your partnership to enable me transfer this funds to your account for both of us and I am open to negotiate your percentage. Your utmost attention and sincerity is needed due to the nature of the business.
Please if you are interested; get back to me via my private email: firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.