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)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mou Xinsheng" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2012 19:52:18 -0800
Subject: My Regards!!!
my name is Mou Xinsheng (Minister of General Administration of Customs of the Peoples Republic of China).I have a secured business proposal for you,I feel it would be huge surprise for you to receive such email from a serving minister.
Forgive me if you see my business proposal as shameful and not honorable because of my governmental status. But please excuse me and understand that this is the situation I am and must find a credible partner outside China.In my years of government service as Narcotics Control Commission and General
Administration of Customs, I have received kick backs from smugglers and business people seeking favors from me and as a public officer my bank
accounts are monitored hence I diverted the funds Fifty million United States dollars for safe keeping abroad. I want you to receive the money which has been in deposit since the last Three years. When the money is in your bank account, I want to use Sixty Percent of the money for charity to help orphanage Children suffering (You will spare head this project and my name will not be mentioned).You will receive Twenty Percent as your commission and I will take the remaining Twenty Percent as my share which I intend to settle with outside China.Please consider this proposal and reply to me soon.It will certainly do you no good to report me to my government authorities or divulge this information to anybody because doing so will only destroy my person and my career.
If you are interested in my proposal,please contact me on my private email address: email@example.com
I will send you more information about myself and this proposal.