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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "email@example.com" (This email address looks like addresses used in fake loan scams. Be suspicious of any lender who uses a free webmail address or who is based in different country from yourself.)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Acuity Financial Solutions Ltd" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2012 01:15:34 -0400
Subject: Debt Relief
Welcome to Acuity Financial Solutions Ltd.
(A Personalized Service For All Your Borrowing Needs)
Do you need a loan to clear your debts/bills, or start up a business? Then
consider your financial problems over. In today's economic climate, finding
reliable funding sources can be frustrating and full of disappointments, but
with our sophisticated loan repayment plan, everyone smiles home.
We Offer guaranteed loan services of any amount and to any part of the world
and all Southern Africa region to individuals, companies and corporate bodies
at our superb interest rate of 4%.
Get a Personal Loan now for house improvements, commercial/business loan, car
loan, leasing/equipment finance, debt consolidation, investment
property/Finance For Loan Applications, do complete the information below and
return by email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
1. Full Names:
2. Contact Address:
3. Contact Tel No:
5. Monthly Income:
6. Marital Status:
Yours in Service,
Loan Applications Controller
+27 729 439 839