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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "please indicate your willingness" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- "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)
- "foreign remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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.Malaki Mazen" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 16:18:51 +1200 (NZST)
(BOA) Bank of Benin.Dear Friend, Confidential
I am contacting you in regards to a business transfer of a huge sum of money from a deceased account. Though I know that a transaction of this magnitude will make anyone apprehensive and worried, but I am assuring you that all will be well at the end of the day. I decided to contact you due to the urgency of this transaction. I am a banker by profession in BURKINA FASO, Bank of India and currently holding the post of manager of bill and exchange at the foreign remittance department of (BOA) Bank of benin. I have the opportunity to meet unclaimed funds of ($25.5 Million Dollars) belong to our deceased customer who died along with his entire family in a plane crash. Hence; I am inviting you for a business deal where this money can be shared between us in the ratio of 60/40 if you agree to my business proposal. Further details of the transfer will be forwarded to you as soon as I receive your urgent mail.as you knows, every bank have their process for
transfer.+229-68296010 Please indicate your willingness by sending your information for more clarification and easy communication, Your full name, Your telephone and fax numbers, enable me process the application form which I will send to you, bearing the deceased customers information, which you will be glad to have.E-mail(firstname.lastname@example.org) Waiting for your urgent mail. Remain Bless.Best Regards,Mr.Malaki Mazen.