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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Mark Thompson <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2012 22:03:35 +0100 (BST)
Subject: From: Mr. Mark Thompson
From: Mr. Mark Thompson
Bank of Africa,Ouagadougou
Compliment to you; However, it's just my urgent need for foreign partner that made me to contact you for this transaction I work with Bank of Africa foreign department. I which to place your name as the beneficiary to Twenty-Five Million United States Dollars. For onward investment (Hotel Industries and Building of Estates) in your country.
The funds I am referring to is right here in this bank the balance deposit by one of our late customer from France Mr. Paul Louis Halley. Therefore, I solicit for your cooperation to collaboration with me to have this done; it will be transferred into an account you will provide any where in the world.
If you are interested, please send me your full contact information as below and thereafter I will send to you text of application form to apply for the fund. Expecting your urgent reply!
1. Full name:.........
2. Current Address:.........
3. Telephone N°:...........
Mr. Mark Thompson