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:
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- "urgent assistance" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- 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: "Sir. Terry Leahy" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2012 21:43:36 +0100
Subject: Business Proposal
I am pleased to solicit your sincere and urgent assistance over this matter, My name is (Sir Terry Leahy).
I am seeking for your co-operation and devotion in building a company or Real Estate in your country,
I planned to invest with your 100% assistance. However, I do not know any investor in your country
who I may trust to handle the business for me as I am a foreigner and will likely travel back to my
country as soon as formal agreement is signed and the funds invested in a viable business of your
choice. I need an experienced personnel to assist me to set up this project successfully.
I estimated a huge sum of money for this project, which I will transfer as soon as possible immediately
our discussion is positive and sealed.I am prepared to give you 10% of the total sum before investment
and 30% of the profit realized for 5 years. I will inform my attorney to prepare a memorandum of
understanding which we should sign on my arrival.
Your immediate reply will be highly appreciated and I shall give you more detailed information concerning
this project. correspond through my private email address: email@example.com for us to discuss
Sir. Terry Leahy