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)
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million united state 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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "urgent assistance" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: blaise mamudu <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2011 13:43:34 +0000
Subject: Urgent please.
FROM THE DESK OF MR. BLAISE MAMUDU
DIRECTOR IN CHARGE OF AUDITING
AND ACCOUNTING SECTION
BANK OF AFRICA (B.O.A)
OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO,
I know that this mail will come to you as a surprise as we never met before. I am the Director in charge of Auditing section of Bank of African (B.O.A), I Hoped that you will not expose or betray this trust and confident that I am about to repose on you for the mutual benefit of our both families. I need your urgent assistance in transferring the sum of Ten million united state dollars ($10.000mUSD) immediately to your account.
The fund has been dormant (in-active) for some years in our Bank here without any body coming for it. I want to apply for release of the fund to you as the nearest person to our deceased customer Mr. George Brumley Jr from Atlanta America (the owner of the account) who died a long with his supposed next of kin in air crash since on July 21 2003. I don't want the fund to go into our Bank treasury as an abandoned fund, so this is the reason why I contacted you, so that my Bank will release the fund to you as the nearest person to the deceased customer.
Please I would like you to keep this proposal as a top secret and delete it if you are not interested. Upon receipt of your reply, I will send you the application form you will fill and send to the bank for transfer of the fund into your bank account and also note that you will have 40% of the above mentioned amount if you agree to help me execute this business. And also 10% had been mapped out for you for the expense you will make in this transaction and 50% is for me. I need you information so that I will send you the application form.
YOUR FULL INFORMATIONS
Your Home Addresses.
Waiting for your urgent reply so that we will starts immediately,
MR. BLAISE MAMUDU
(B.O.A) BANK OF AFRICA