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)
- "please indicate your willingness" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- "million 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)
- "foreign remittance department" (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 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "From David Tang Chen" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 31 May 2012 09:36:07 -0700
Subject: Urgent Business Proposal.
>From The Office Desk Of Mr David Tang Chen
Manager Bill And Exchange Bank Of China
Foreign Remittance Department (F.R.D)
I am contacting you in regards to a business transfer of a huge sum of money from a deceased client account. Though I know that a transaction of this magnitude will make anyone apprehensive and worried, but I am assuring you that all will be well at the end of the day. I decided to contact you due to the urgency of this transaction.
I am a banker by profession in Beijing China and currently holding the post of bill and exchange manager at the foreign remittance department of (B.O.C) Bank of China. I have the opportunity to meet unclaimed funds of ($25.5 Million Dollars) which belong to our deceased customer who died along with his entire family in 2011 japan's earth quake and tsunami.
However; I am inviting you for a real business deal where this money can be shared between us in the ratio of 50/50 if you agree to my business proposal. Further details of the transfer will be forwarded to you as soon as I receive your urgent response due to the fact that every bank have their fund transfer procedure.
Please indicate your willingness by sending your information for more clarification and easy communication,
Your full name, Your telephone and country of residence/origin as it will enable me to process the application form which I will send to you, bearing the deceased customers information, which you will be glad to have.
I am waiting to hear from you,Please if you are interested interested contact me directly with this email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Mr.David Tang Chen