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:
- "trunk box" (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)
- "trunk boxes" (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)
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mallam Mustapha" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 19 Aug 2011 20:09:28 -0700
Subject: Hello, reply asap
Thank you for your response.I will intimate you on the transaction as follows:
The funds in question is presently contained in 2 trunk boxes deposited with a Financial Film
in Europe but the officials of the security company do not know the real contents of the trunks.
They feel that the trunks contain personal effects and we shall keep it so until i advise otherwise.
I need your assistance in the sense that you will pose as the beneficiary of the trunks and help
us travel to the Europe and pick up the trunks.You will keep them safely for us until a time when
we will meet with you and share the contents as earlier agreed in my mail to you.
Please note that we are putting a lot of trust in you and we hope that you will not do otherwise.
We have been duped in the past by close friends and relatives that have given out our information
to our government and hence we chose to do this last one with a foreigner.
I want you to please call me on my number +23418503217 (it is open 7 days a week and 24hours for this
transaction) and please when you call ask me for the password and i will say AUGUST before any
conversation.If you do not hear this password,drop the phone and try again later.
This is only a security check to make sure you are talking to the right person.
We must be very security conscious so as not to jeopardise this transaction.
I will also remind you that you keep this transaction very confidential as it involves my family's last
hope for survival.
EMAIL ME YOUR FULL HOME ADDRESS SO THAT THE ATTORNEY CAN GET STARTED WITH
THE LEGAL DOCUMENTATION TO MAKE YOU THE BENEFICIARY.
N.B:All documents of deposit bear my name as depositor so we will need legal documentation
to show that you are beneficiary okay.