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)
- "00,000.00" (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 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
- the desk of the verification officer, via email on: firstname.lastname@example.org // email@example.com for purpose of clarification (Kimo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: USA - APPROVED PAYMENT SCHEME <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: USA-CLAIMS UNIT <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 1 Jul 2012 02:24:48 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: CLAIMS FILE: REF: ATM-9080 (APPROVED BY USA GOVT.)
PAYMENT REF: USA/CON/INH/ATM-9080
CLAIMS FILE: REF: ATM-9080
The United States Government in bid to pay all outstanding funds for fiscal year 2012 has issued you with an ATM card worth One Million United States Dollars ($1,000,000.00 USD). Your Payment Code: REF:ATM 9080 (Take Note).
For claims provide the below info;
1) FULL NAME:
2) HOME ADDRESS:
3) PHONE NUMBER:
7) SCAN COPY OF ID CARD/PROOF (IF ANY)
The above information are to be forwarded to the desk of the verification officer, via email on: firstname.lastname@example.org // email@example.com
For purpose of clarification and authenticity, you will be given valid means of Identification once you provide the above information.
We await your prompt response.
CO-ORDINATOR, DR. STEVE NORTWARD.