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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Ms. A. Ghazi" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 5 Apr 2013 07:59:43 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: From Ms Amal
I am quite sure that this mail will surprise you since we did not know each other before. But I searched & got your e-mail contact through Google.com for formal Introduction, I am Ms. Amal Ghazi, Formal Protocol officer to late Moâtassim Gaddafi.
My reason of contacting you is because I am looking for a Trustworthy person that I can present to the bank as the owner/ beneficiary of US$12.3M fix deposit in one of the Banks in Southern Africa. This was made during one of our trips last 2years to Southern African countries.
Reply if you can and more details will be giving to you on how the claim of this fund will be done in your name.
Ms. Amal Ghazi