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)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "there are practically no risks involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- 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, Philippines, Philippines; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Mr Johnson Koffi <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2012 13:37:54 +0000
Subject: Greetings Dear Friend
Greetings Dear Friend
I write to seek your services in a private and confidential matter regarding an unaccounted fund in our bank here in Ghana during the last 2011 business year. As a Regional Manager in this Bank, I deposited this fund in an ESCROW CALL ACCOUNT at our headquarters pending when I shall get a reliable person.
This requires a private arrangement. Could you perhaps be able to receive these funds under legal claims then I will file you in. I will appreciate for fewer questions asked and your participation will be 40% of the total money. There are practically no risks involved, the transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law,it will be simply a bank-to-bank transfer.
I have all the details and will file you in if you are really willing. Your major role would be to provide an existing account or open a new bank account where the funds will be transferred and stand as the original depositor of this fund in our bank, as long as you will remain honest to me till the end for this important business trusting in you and believing that you will never let me down either now or in future. At this juncture, I wish to tell you what prompted me to package this deal. I have a 9yrs old daughter who has leukemia, a disease of the blood, and she needs a bone marrow transplant or she will die. I want this transplanting to be done in any good children's hospital in your Country, if there is one.
Once this fund is transferred into your account, I shall resign from my job and bring my family to start a new life in your country.The funds in question are quite large,five million five hundred thousand United States Dollars($5,500,000.00).
I will expect a straight answer from you. If yes, please get back to me so that we can work out the modalities without further delay.Reply to my private email address and Contact Number+233270466869 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
With best regards,
Mr Johnson Koffi.