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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: John West <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2011 15:15:05 +0100
Subject: Indicate your interest
My name is John West, Staff of United Bank for Africa(UBA) in Burkina Faso. I will like you to indicate your interest to receive the transfer of $12,989,000.00 USD of which i will like you to stand as the next of kin to our deceased customer whose account is presently dormant for claims. I guarantee that this transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect both of us from any breach of the law.Get back to me immediately if you are interested so that i can send you more details of this transaction.Thank you for your time and i look forward to working with you.