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 united states 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "John Bredenkamp" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2012 20:20:12 -0700
Subject: Investment proposal
I am interested in establishing and operating a very viable business as a means of investment abroad. I do not
Know too well on how this is done in your country, so I will need you to help me in this regard.
My preference is any good profit yielding business and I would appreciate any viable ideas you could come up with.
I will also need you to help me look for properties like homes and lands for sale as I am proposing to invest the
sum of Eighty Nine Million United States Dollars ($89,000,000 USD) for this. I do not know if you can and will be of
Help to me.
For a brief on my personality; my name is John Bredenkamp, a Zimbabwean based in U.K. I was into private tobacco
merchant. I am 72 years of age, married with a wife and 4 lovely kids. I dropped my tobacco business because it
wasnt producing profitable income. I have had so much problems with the British Authority just because am a
Foreigner I believe.I also have my infamous past,I think it transparent to let you know before you gather intel on me,
but I assure you of my sincerity and of course no risk to you.
My need for this business proposition and to acquire these properties is very urgent as I am planning to move out
of this country with my family down to your country. I want you to also help in finding a good home where my
Family and I will live in ( Mini Estate ).
Please I expect your prompt reply so that we can proceed swiftly. I will need your phone and fax numbers for
easier communication with you if I am unable to access my emails.