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)
- "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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Gahdafi" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2012 12:35:57 +0800
Subject: Private and classified
I am Mrs.Safia Farkash Gahdafi the wife of the late Libyan Leader Colonel Muammar Gahdafi. Following the recent rebellion in my country and the brutal death of my husband on the 20 Oct 2011, I have been thrown into a state of utter confusion, frustration and hopelessness; I have been subjected to physical and psychological torture by the security agents in Algeria where we seek refuge at present.
My son was killed by the rebels for an offense he did not commit. As a widow that is so traumatized, I have lost confidence with anybody within the country. You must have heard over the media reports and the internet on the recovery of various huge sums of money deposited by my husband in different security firms abroad, some companies willingly give up their secrets and disclosed our money confidently lodged there or many outright blackmail.In fact the total sum discovered by the Government so far is in the tune of ($900). Million Dollars. And they are not relenting to make me poor for life; I got your contact email address through my research and out of desperation decided to reach you through this medium. I will give you more information as to this regard as soon as you reply. I repose great confidence in you hence my approach to you due to security network placed on my day to day affairs I cannot afford to visit the embassy so that is why I decided to contact you and I hope you will not betray my c
I shall be grateful if you could receive this fund into your account for safe keeping. This arrangement is known to you and my son alone. I am seriously considering relocating to your country once the fund is transferred to you. I will be wiling to offer you 30% of the total fund if only you will receive this fund and keep it for us.
Please note that honesty is the watch word in this transaction. I will require your telephone and fax numbers so that we can commence communication immediately and I will give you a more detailed picture of things. In case you donít accept please do not let me out to the security as I am giving you this information in total trust and confidence .I will greatly appreciate if you accept my proposal in good faith.
I appreciate your timely suggestion and interest over this matter
Mrs.Safia Farkash Gahdafi