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:
- "dearest one," (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million united states 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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Williams and Kate" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 6 Aug 2011 16:10:58 +0200
Subject: From williams
Greetings. With warm heart I offer my friendship and greetings, and I hope that this mail will meets you in good time.
However strange or surprising this contact might seem to you as we have not meet personally or had any dealings in the past. I humbly ask that you take due consideration of its importance and immense benefit.
My name is williams from Republic of Sierra-Leone. I have something very important that i would like to confide in you please,I have a reasonable amount of money which i inherited from my late father (Six Million United States Dollars}.US$6.000.000.00.which I want to invest in your country with you and again in a very profitable venture.
Currently I am residing in Ivory coast now with my younger sister Kate where my late father deposited the money, so i will like you to reply me immediately so that i will give you more details about everything.
Im expecting your reply for more explanation. Please im urgently waiting for your response and I am conceding 15% of this money to you for your efforts assistance.I will wait hear untill i hear from.
Thanks and God bless you.