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 pounds" (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 next of kin scam.
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: James Williams <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 14 Sep 2012 04:36:49 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Very Urgent
Hello Dear Friend,
My name is Mr. James Williams, the Overseas Fund Officer of an Investment Bank here in Ghana.
My client, General Daoud Rajha who died recently during the Syria insurgency, made a fixed deposit of nine million pounds in my branch.From investigations, he did not declare
any next of kin. So, I need you as a foreigner to act as the next of kin to get this fund for us because the funds will revert to the Ghana Treasury if nobody comes forward.
My anticipated percentages for sharing shall be fair enough, 50% for me, 50% for you.
Please confirm by replying to state if you are interested, kindly send your full details.
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org