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:
- "million 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)
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Barrister Musa Hassan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 26 Nov 2011 05:08:02 +0800
Subject: GET BACK TO ASAP
I am Musa Hassan,an attorney at law. A deceased client of mine,
that bears the same last name as yours, died as the result of a heart-related
condition on March 12th 2007. His heart condition was due to the death of all
the members of his family in the tsunami disaster on the 26th December 2004
in Sumatra Indonesia.
My late Client has a deposit of seventeen point five Million Dollars
(US$17.500,000.Million Dollars)that is lodge in the bank.
I contacted you to assist in distributing the money left behind by my client,
Get back to me on (email@example.com) for more information.
TEL: 01160146308549 +60146308549