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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- 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: "SSgt. John Lopez" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 24 May 2012 18:43:32 -0400
Subject: United States Marine Corps. Afghanistan.
I am SSgt. John Lopez, a US serving in the Hqs. Multinational Corps Afghanistan, III Corps-Camp Victory, which Patrols the Kabul province. I am desperately in need of assistance and I have summoned up courage to contact you. I am presently in Afghanistan and I found your contact particulars in an internet address journal. I am seeking your assistance to evacuate the sum of $12,570,000(Twelve million Five Hundred and Seventy Thousand USD) to the States or any safe country of your choice, as far as I can be assured that it will be safe in your care until I complete my service here. This is no stolen money and there are no dangers involved. Actually it is part of funds that we discovered from the residence of fleeing Opium farmers in Afghanistan.
I have now found a secured way of getting the package out of Afghanistan for you to pick it up. I do not know for how long I will remain here as I have been lucky to have survived 2 suicide bomb attacks by Pure Divine intervention. This and other reasons put into consideration have prompted me to reach out for help. If it might be of interest to you then endeavor to contact me and we would work out the necessary formalities, but I pray that you are discreet about this mutually benefiting relationship.
Contact me via my private mailbox: email@example.com so that I can furnish you with more details.
United States Marine Corps. Afghanistan.