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 us 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)
- "offshore account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- +447045709241 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Boris Sagal" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 15 May 2012 04:20:56 -0400
Subject: Respond Urgently
I am Dr. Boris Sagal, a personal treasurer to Mikhail Khodorkovsky the Richest man in Russia and owner of the following companies:Chairman CEO: YUKOS OIL (Russian Largest Oil Company) Chairman CEO: Menatep SBP Bank (A well reputable financial institution with its Branches all over the world), I want to reprofile the total sum of $165.3 Million US Dollars to your country or any part of world where you maintain an offshore account for immediate investment without barring any delay.
It has been carefully networked with my experience and for the past three months I have worked out everything to ensure a hitch-free operation, if you can be honest with me, then you will take 35% of the total fund.
However, I am presently in London from where I will be handling the transaction with you for confidential reasons.
I will appreciate your help & cooperation.
Dr. Boris Sagal
+44 704 5709 241