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)
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million us 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)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "% will be for you" (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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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 (Yahoo, Japan; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Louis Wallner" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2012 08:12:30 -0800
Subject: RE: NEXT OF KIN
RE: NEXT OF KIN / BENEFICIARY FOR US$5.5 MILLION US DOLLARS.
I am sure that this letter will come to you as a surprise to you, but do not worry because I only found your email through internet searching and I decided to contact you for this business.
My name is Mr. Louis Wallner, a former staff of one of the leading banks here in London and also a Member of the AMERICAN BANKERS ASSOCIATION.
Five Millions Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars was deposited since 2000 in safe place in Europe which I will made mention to you after I have hear from you and the beneficiary (Mr. Robert John) died in 2004 South Asia Tsunami with his family while on a holiday in Thailand.
All attempts to trace any of his relatives since his death were not successful. Now, I want you to stand as NEXT OF KIN / BENEFICIARY for these fund release to you and we will share this money together.
40% will be for you and 60% will be for me which I also intend to invest in Real Estate Business in your Country.
If you are interested, send me the followings through my email address stated above:-
Complete first and Last names
Phone and Fax Numbers
Date of Birth
Please I want this deal to be very secret and should not be disclose to anyone. If you have any questions let me know ASAP.
In receipts of this message you are been advice to email me back at my private email box: email@example.com
Thank you for your understanding.
Mr. Louis Wallner