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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Ms. Laura Recee Cole" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2012 12:57:15 -0500
Subject: Please Read And Reply ( Urgently ) !!!!!!!
I'm sorry to disturb you with this proposal. My name is Laura Cole, I'm a British Citizen who lives in London. I attend university and work part time as a dress maker. I lost my father in an auto accident prompting my mothers death because of it. My Father, James Cole, willed me a large portion of his real estate holdings and income properties valued at £50,700,000 Pounds Sterling. I have yet to place a clam on it but right now things are not good and I'd like to have it. My Fathers stipulation was that I was either 30 years of age or married (allowing my Husband to be in control). I am 24 so only my husband can make a claim on my behalf. I'd like to offer you the opportunity to stand in as my Husband or Next of Kin and will share 40% of it for your trouble. I plan on using 10% for any travel or legal expense incurred. I am trusting you will keep this matter and this proposal completly confidential, as I will. I'm waiting for you to get back to me as I'd like to get started as soon as we can.
Laura Reece Cole.