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)
- "waiting for your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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: Mr.Akassam Mahama <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2011 18:53:34 +0000
Subject: (I need your immediate assistance and trust)
(I need your immediate assistance and trust)
Good Day Please Read,
How are you and your family? I am Mr.Akassam Mahama, the director of the accounts & auditing dept .at the African Development Bank Ouagadougou-west Africa .(A D B) With due respect, I have decided to contact you on a business transaction that will be beneficial to both of us. I recovered an intestate account file of ($5.5m) owner by one of our foreign customers. This money has been dormant for years in our Bank without claim due to the owner of this fund died along with his entire family and leaving no next of kin in an air crash. In fact all the efforts I made to locate any of his relative or foreign business partners since last year were futile.
Therefore, I have decided to position you before my bank as the Foreign Business Partner/Consultant of the deceased in order to get the funds transferred in your account since no one will come for the claim thereafter. I am ready to reward you with 40% while 60% will be for me of the total sum for your corporate assistance. Invariably, I cannot handle this deal successfully without your help because I am a civil servant,besides, I cannot stand as the claimant to a foreigner.
The secret is bound between me and you. If you are capable or agree to this business Please for further information and enquiries feel free to contact me through this my e-mail:(email@example.com) or call me immediately for more explanation and better understanding.
I am waiting for your urgent response!!!
Thanks and remain blessed.