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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million 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)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Alex King <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 28 Jul 2012 05:10:29 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Thanks for your cooperation.
>From Mr. Alex King.
My name is Mr. Alex King .I work with the Eco Bank of Abidjan , Cote D Ivoire as an accountant foreign operation department. In the discharge of my duty, I stumbled on this domiciliary account that has remained dormant for three years now with fifteen million dollars ($15m) in it. I contacted my director and we sent out staff for inquiries and discovered that the account holder died in Auto-crash with the next of kin.
I am writing you so that we can work with you and transfer the fund with your name as the next of kin. It is simple process which will take a short while to process. Outside this, the bank management will confiscate the money.
If I hear from you , I will tell you all you need to know about the money.
Thanks for your cooperation.
Mr. Alex King