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:
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.Isabella Caromel" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2012 12:27:03 +0200
Subject: CAN YOU BE THEIR FOR THEM?
Private Message to you,
The lord spoke to me to share this with you. Please kindly sympathize with my current situation and assist. My name is Isabella Carmel, I escaped tsunami disaster some time ago which affected my spinal cord, my ear drum and claim my entire family, husband and two sons.
Right now I was discharged from hospital after spending many days. It might be a shock to you to know that I was eventually disabled due to the catastrophe that stroke me, I was now on a wheelchair after all form of treatment. I have decided to give arms to the needing in the societies. This should be a legacy laid down by me on earth therefore I decided to build charity organizations for the less privilege as my health has finally confirmed deteriorated so badly. With my present condition this project could not be executed personally by me due to my ailment. However your kind assistant is required to make this dream a reality. I have intend to invest the sum of $10.6M USD I deposited in (OVERSEA CREDIT COMMISSION) to help the less privileged. Perhaps you are chosen to help receive these funds from where it was deposited, and also to build charity organizations for the less privilege with it.
Please I will appreciate if you indicate interest to help actualize this dream and also include your contact telephone/fax numbers that will be forwarded to the (COMMISSION OFFICIALS) for onward communication with you as my appointed beneficiary on how to transfer the funds to you. I will provide you the legal documents that will enable you claim the funds.
If you are willing and ready to assist in this project, please e-mail me at email@example.com without delay, while I wait to hear from you.
Thanks once again for your kindness may God guide and reward you in all your endeavors as you make me realize my last dreams and wishes.
Mrs. Isabella Caromel