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:
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "the diplomat " ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "a diplomat " ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "liberia" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "WILLIAMS TAYLOR." (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 2 Feb 2012 03:38:53 -0800
Subject: PLEASE GET BACK TO ME
I KNOW THIS WILL COME TO YOU AS A SURPRISE BECAUSE YOU DO NOT KNOW ME I AM MR WILLIAMS TAYLOR THE SON OF THE FORMER LIBERIA
PRESIDENT MR. CHARLES TAYLOR. I AND MY FAMILY IS ON EXILE IN GHANA .
I GOT YOUR CONTACT IN MY SEARCH FOR AN HONEST PERSON WHOM I CAN CONFIDE IN.I WANT YOU TO HELP ME CLEAR THIS PACKAGE THAT IS
ALREADY IN AMERICA WHICH I SHIPPED THROUGH DIPLOMATIC MEANS WITH THE HELP OF A DIPLOMAT BUT THE CONTENTS OF THE PACKAGE IS
$8.500,000.00 ALL IN $100.00 BILLS, BUT THE DIPLOMAT DOES NOT KNOW THAT IT IS MONEY THAT I HAVE IN THE PACKAGE.
ALL I WANT YOU TO DO FOR ME NOW IS THIS,GIVE ME YOUR
2. MAILING ADDRESS:
3. Marital Status:
8. Country Of Residence:
9. Telephone Number (Country Code)-(Area Code)- Phone Number):
10 Cell Number: (Country Code) - (Cell Phone Number):
11. Fax Number:
I WILL GIVE YOU THE CONTACT OF THE DIPLOMAT AND I HOPE THAT AT THE END OF THE DAY, MY IDENTITY MUST NOT BE REVEALED TO
IF THIS ARRANGEMENT IS OKAY, OTHER MODALITIES WILL BE DISCUSSED AS SOON AS YOU GET BACK TO ME INCLUDING SENDING OF THE KEYS
TO THE BOXES TO YOU . AS SOON YOU INDICATE YOUR INTEREST.