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:
- "million british 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)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Archie Kane <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 19 Aug 2011 16:36:48 +0100
Subject: Greetings From London..
25 Gresham Street
London EC2V 7HN
Following the announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer,that all ccounts that have been dormant for over 15years be transferred to the Treasury i send this mail.
I discovered a dormant account in my office, as officer in charge. It will be in my interest to transfer this fund worth 20,000,000 million British pounds in an account outside UK. If you are willing to be a collaborator/partner to this please indicate interest immediately.
Remember this is absolutely a non public affair,as i am seeking your assistance as the beneficiary of this unclaimed account, since we are not allowed to operate a foreign account,Your contact phone numbers and name will be necessary for this effect,I have reposed my confidence in you and hope that you will not disappoint me.