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:
- 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:
- "good day friend" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Syeikh Adib Abdul" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 4 Jul 2012 13:12:11 +0100
Subject: Highly Confidential Letter
Good day friend,
This is a personal email directed to you for your consideration alone, I
request that it remain and be treated as such only. Please bear with me for now and do not ask my
name. I am a banker with HSBC here in Malaysia.
I have an interesting business proposal for you that will be of immense
benefit to both of us. Although this may be hard for you to believe, we stand to gain 7.2 million
USD between us in a matter of days. Please grant me the benefit of doubt and hear me out.
I need you to signify your interest by replying to my email (email@example.com)
Most importantly, I will need you to promise to keep whatever you learn
from me between us even if you decide not to go along with me. I will make more details
available to you on receipt of a positive response from you.
Warm regards from Malaysia.