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)
- ",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)
- "urgent assistance" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: kofi mensah <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2012 14:12:54 +0000
Subject: Dear Friend
My name is Mr Kofi Mensah, I need your urgent
assistance in transferring the funds which belongs to our deceased
customer who died in plane crash.the sum of $10,500,000(Ten million five
hundred thousand dollars)
Since the death of this our customer
the money has been in our bank without claim. I want to release the
money to you as the deceased NEXT OF KIN for the benefit of both of us.
By indicating your interest I will send you the full details on how the
business will be executed.
Mr Kofi Mensah