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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Kaspar Villiger <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Aug 2011 19:14:34 +0100
Subject: IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE NEEDED
FROM: MR KASPAR VILLIGER
UBS INVESTMENT BANK
I'm Mr. Kaspar Villiger, the present Director, Audit & Accounts Unit, UBS INVESTMENT BANK London. Please, treat this information as secret and highly confidential. There's an account with the sum of 12.5 Million pounds (GBP) that hasn't been operated for the past 4 years.
This account belongs to a Japanese oil dealer who unfortunately died with his family in a Tsunami. He had neither a legal will nor a surviving next of kin. I need your help as a foreigner to claim the money through my advice and share it with me. And there is practically no risk involved, the transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of law in London and your country.
If you are in doubt of my person, kindly visit UBS INVESTMENT BANK MANAGEMENT BOARD OF DIRECTORS PROFILE http://www.ubs.com/1/e/investors/corporategovernance/boardofdirectors.html or the victim on: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1368531/Japan-earthquake-tsunami-Workers-dig-mass-grave-countrys-major-burial.html
Mr. Kaspar Villiger.
UBS INVESTMENT BANK