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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- 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.
- email@example.com (Myself; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "RICHARD CLIFFORD" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2012 20:06:08 +0800
Subject: Can we work on trust ?
Permit me to inform you of my desire of going into business relationship
with you. I got your contact from a computerize data following my effort
searching for a trustworthy person to assist me.
My name is Richard Clifford, I'm a season Banker with Malaysia HSBC Bank
(Malaysia office) as well an account officer to a deceased customer to our
bank, we lost this customer in the tsunami disaster on the 26th December
2004 in Sumatra Indonesia.His account of US$9.5 million with us have been
unclaimed due to unavailability of next of kin/relatives .
I seek your partnership to stand as the next of kin to enable us claim
the inheritance before the period given by the bank elapse.
Please reply immediately with your full information to firstname.lastname@example.org