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)
- "confidential business" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- 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: "Mr. Abdul-Rahman Mohammed" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2012 22:55:18 +0100
Subject: please Get back to me
please Get back to me
My name is Mr. Abdul-Rahman Mohammed. I am the foreign operations director of Wahda Bank, here in Tripoli -Libya.
I have a very sensitive and confidential business offer from the top executives to seek your partnership in re-profiling some offshore investment funds worth USD$250Million (Two Hundred and Fifty Million United States Dollars). This fund is part of the former Libyan President, Late Muammar Gaddafi's loot. I am the only person in Libya that has the knowledge of existence of this funds because I used my position as a banker and a personal confidant to Late Muammar Gaddafi to move the said funds out of Libya, and the second person you would know shortly is the present custodian of the funds, but for now his names and contact details is withheld for security reasons, and would be revealed to you as we progress with this deal. I am constrained however to withhold most of the details for now, until we are sure that you are capable of handling this deal.
If we agree on the terms, you would be given 30% of the total funds as compensation to you for the vital role that you would play in the entire processes of this deal. If you are interested, please write back via email only to provide me with your personal details and phone numbers for further directives.
If you are interested and willing to render your assistance please respond via my private email address (email@example.com )
I look forward to your response.
Mr. Abdul-Rahman Mohammed