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:
- "my names are " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- "calvary greetings" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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: "thomas" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 4 Jul 2012 01:14:47 +0800
Subject: I shall await your quick response
Calvary greetings to you in the precious name of the Almighty God.I know this mail will come to you by surprise but it is through divine intervention I have contacted you as I got your details through search as a result of my ques to look for a trustworthy individual who will assist me.
My names are Mrs.Linda Thomas. I am a British Citizen currently been trapped in the war toned Libya . Before the beginning of the war between Libyan rebels and Gaddafi, I and my late Husband was fully involved in a business and we have made lot of money, but because of the war that is presently going on in this region am under the obligation of finding my way out of this deadly zone.
My purpose of contacting you is to seek for your assistance in receiving money my which late Husband deposited with a Royal Bank Of Scotland and is ready to be moved out of this region with an assistance of a diplomatic arrangement,why am making this urgent arrangement is based on the fact that my late Husband Brother is now trying to sell of everything that my late Husband left in London believing that I and my children will not die here in Libyan,before he gets to know about this Deposit,kindly assist me and my children to secure this Fund.
The total amount is $2.5M. However, all I want you to do is to stand as the beneficiary in your country after which I will come down if i'm able to come out and we shall jointly invest the fund in a profitable business venture. If you can do this for me, I shall set aside a total sum of 20% for your assistance while the remaining 80% shall be used for a good investment in your country. It shall be my delight if you can assist and please kindly get back to me immediately so that I can send you the contact of the security company legal department with a power of attorney for them to open communications with you for the delivery of the Fund to your country.
Kindly contact me only through this my secret Email:email@example.com
I shall await your quick response