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:
- "million united states 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- 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: "DAVID THORBURN." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 31 May 2012 22:13:10 +0800
Subject: REPLY IMMEDIATELY
I am David Thorburn Chief Operating Officer, Santander Bank. I am getting in
touch with you regarding the estate of a deceased client with similar last
name and an investment placed under our banks management 10 years ago. I
believe would be of interest to you In the year 2002, the subject matter;
came to our bank to engage in business discussions with our private banking
division. He informed us that he had a financial portfolio of fifty million
united states dollars ($50,000,000,00).I want you to stand as the bona-fide
next of kin to the deceased.
My proposal; you share the same surname With our late client; We share the
proceeds 50% for me, 50% for you Should you be interested i shall provide you
with more details of this transaction.
I await your response.
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