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:
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "keep this confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "here in united kingdom" (this email uses bad English)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Sandra J. Jones" <email@example.com>
Reply-To: "Sandra J. Jones" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 1 Jun 2012 00:26:30 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Waiting 2 read 4rm you.
Sorry for taking your time. I know this message will come to you as a surprise.
My name is Chris Marshall, a manager to the storage department of one of the world's leading security company's (name withheld for security purposes) based here in United Kingdom. I discovered a deposit in our vault with a worth $10million US dollars (Ten Million US dollars), belonging to a long deceased client. He has not included a next of kin nor beneficiary in the related documents.(related documents intact).
As the direct manager to the related files, I now want to move the deposit out of the vault to outside the country for further investments only. I wish to invest in a stable economy. My interest is in Real-Estate and companies with potentials for rapid growth in long terms.
I am also interested in placing part of this fund in your company under your directive / description, if your country's bylaw allows foreign investment. Your assistance will be highly compensated and appreciated in many ways (open for negotiations).
Please treat with respect and turn down my offer by returning my mail. This way, I can search for other contacts. No matter your decision on this message, pls keep this confidential and DESTROY if you are not interested.
Reply through my private email: email@example.com