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:
- "million united states 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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Ma Kim" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2012 10:39:21 -0700
Subject: Kindly Help For Investment
Dear Kindly Help For Investment
Pardon my mode of communication.
I am Mrs. Ma Kim, the wife of Mr. Choong founder of many Korean leading
companies but having problems with the government and executives of their
conglomerate on corrupt allegations leveled on my husband, which are
basically untrue. However, I have a legitimate business offer for you
regarding some secret funds deposited somewhere in Europe for a
safe-keeping, totaling the sum of USD$150,000.000.00 (One Hundred and
Fifty Million United States Dollars Only). These funds can be released to
you for any investment you wish to embark upon for a time period of ten
(10) years before refunding it back to us.
Furthermore, I will be ready to negotiate terms with you, if I know your
financial capability, experience and investment preposition, projections
you wish to utilize this funds on, hence, I will direct you to the useful
contact, where these process will be concluded within matter of days.
Finally, I will furnish you with more information when I receive a respond
from you, do contact me on my private email:
Mrs. Ma Kim