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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- 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: Madam Murtaza Bhutto <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 19 Aug 2011 11:14:35 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: I BLESS YOU FROM MY HEART.
I am Mrs Murtaza Bhutto and i have been suffering from ovarian cancer disease and the doctor said that i will give up anytime from now. I am from (Baalbek) Lebanon but based in Africa Burkina Faso since eight years ago as a business woman dealing with gold exportation. Now that i am about to end the race like this, without any family members and no child. I have $3 Million US DOLLARS in Africa Development Bank (ADB) Burkina Faso which i instructed the bank to give to St Andrews Missionary Home in Burkina Faso. But my mind is not at rest because i am writing this letter now through the help of my computer beside my sick bed.
I also have $4.5 Million US Dollars at Ecobank here in Burkina Faso and i instructed the bank management(ECOBANK PLC) to transfer the money to you as soon as you apply to the bank, because i am on my seek bed and my illness is increasing seriously, my eyes are feed with tears, the doctor said that i will give up anytime from now, so i don't know if i will see tomorrow.
As i am ending this race without any family or child, i want you to assure me that you will take 50% of the money and give 50% to the orphanages home in your country for my heart to rest in peace. You are to contact the bank management(ECOBANK PLC) through this email address ( email@example.com ) immediately you receive this message. May God bless and give you strength to carry out my last wish as i told you.
Yours fairly friend,
Madam Murtaza Bhutto.