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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Mr robret Zuma <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 20 Aug 2011 15:35:59 +0530 (IST)
Subject: Greetings to you,
FROM THE DESK OF MR ROBRET ZUMA
AUDITING AND ACCOUNTING SECTION OF
BANK OF AFRICA (B.O.A)
I WISH TO KNOW IF WE CAN WORK TOGETHER BECAUSE I WOULD LIKE YOU TO STAND AS THE BENEFICIARY TO A DECEASED CLIENT MR.EMMANUEL ETUKUDO WHO MADE SOME DEPOSIT SUM OF ($3.8M) THREE MILLION EIGHT HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS IN MY DEPARTMENT IN THE BANK OF AFRICA BURKINA-FASO, WEST AFRICA BEFORE HIS DEATH.
HE DIED ON THE 2ND MAY 2007 WITHOUT ANY REGISTERED NEXT OF KIN AND AS SUCH THE FUNDS NOW HAVE AN OPEN BENEFICIARY MANDATE. UPON YOUR REPLY I WILL GIVE YOu DETAILS ON HOW THE TRANSACTION WILL BE EXECUTED, AND IâAM ASSURING YOU THAT IT IS 100% RISK FREE HENCE YOU CO-OPERATE WITH ME.
MR ROBRET ZUMA