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:
- "calvary greetings" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- +447045776872 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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: "HARRY NEILD" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 23 Nov 2012 03:48:31 +0330
Subject: CAN I TRUST YOU?
Dearest Old Friend,
Calvary Greetings, On behalf of the Trustees and Executor of the estate of Late Engr. Mark Edward, I once again try to notify you as my earlier letter to you Through the Post Office was returned undelivered. I hereby attempt to reach you via your e-mail address.
I wish to notify you that late Engr.Mark Edward made you a beneficiary to his will. He left the sum of Eight Hundred and fifty Thousand Dollars (US$850,000,00) to you in the codicil and last testament to his will.
Being a widely traveled man,mainly in America he must have been in contact with you in the past or simply you were nominated to him by one of his numerous friends abroad who wished you good.
Engr.Mark Edward until his death was a former managing director and pioneer staff of a giant Construction Company. He was a very dedicated Christian who loved to give out. His great philanthropy earned him numerous awards during his life time. Late Engr. Mark Edward died on the 9th day of February 2003 at the age of 72 years, and his Will is now ready for execution. According to him this money is to support your Christian activities and to help the poor and the needy.
Please If I reach you as I am hopeful; endeavor to get back to me as soon as possible to enable the immediate execution of your portion of the bequest for earlier disbursement by the Paying Agent. You should forward along your telephone and fax numbers, including a proof to confirm your identity as the beneficiary in question and your current mailing address if different from the above. Proof of Identity should be either clergy ID or International passport or drivers License.
Send machine copy or identity proof by attachment via E-mail. On demand I would send you the Obituary notice of Late Mark Edward for your perusal and maybe you would recognize him. I hope to hear from you in no distant time.
HON.BARRISTER HARRY COY,
LEGAL ADVICER TO THE BEQUEST WILL.