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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "money laundering" ("anti-terrorist", "anti-money laundering" or "drug-free" certificates are a common way for criminals in fake lottery scams and other Advance Fee scams to get you to send money to them. There are no such certificates in the real banking world. )
- "a security company " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Pavel Khodorkovsky <email@example.com>
Date: 20 Sep 2011 20:38:14 +0200
Subject: A FRIEND IN NEED IS A FRIEND INDEED
My name is Pavel Khodorkovsky the son of Mikhail Khodorkovsky the former head of the Yukos oil company - Yukos oil company was once Russia's largest oil producer. However, my Dad was convicted on Money laundering and tax evasion charges, the trial on money laundering and embezzlement charges, which began in March 2009. Then later accused for sponsoring opponent presidential candidate and theft of Billions of Dollars with his PA Platon Lebedev, from the subsidiaries oil Yukos company from 1998 to 2003.
See for more info http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/12/28/russia.khodorkovsky.verdict/index.html
Since the beginning of this trial, my Dad's known wealth has been taken away, and most of his local and international bank accounts has been confiscated but I am writing to you about this unknown funds deposited in a security company in Thailand, worth 10 Million US Dollars. Please
I seek someone who is honestly and transparent to help us received this money before the government and persecutors gets to find out. You will be rewarded with 30 percentage of the funds. All process with will handled with a legal Attorney.
Acknowledging the circumstance at hand , I require someone who is proactive and willingness to contact the bank of and be in possesion of this said fund in no time soon. I also want to plead with your God not to reply this email if you are not a trustworthy person. Contact me via my email : firstname.lastname@example.org