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 us 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)
- "waiting for your urgent response" (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: Richard Eze <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Richard Eze <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 16 Sep 2012 04:49:35 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: INVESTMENT PROPOSAL
My name is Richard Eze from Ghana; I got your contact through my internet search for a foreign partner. I am establishing this contact with you based on trust and in utmost confidence, having considered you highly reputable and capable of assistance to my understated business proposal.
I have some fund amounted 16.2 million us dollars that I want to invest in a good business over there in your country. Please highlight me on other areas to invest the fund in your country; my interest goes to real estate development and building materials. But if you have any other areas which you knows that will be good and profitable for us to invest this fund there in your country, then do let me know when replying this mail.
The full details shall be given to you when I hear from you indicating your interest.
I am waiting for your urgent response.