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:
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Francis MILLS" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 20 May 2013 07:29:03 +0200 (CEST)
Subject: Mr. Francis MILLS, ..o
From: Mr. Francis MILLS,
Chief Executive Director
STANDARD CHARTER BANK LIMITED:
Good day,I am Mr. Francis MILLS, the Chief Executive Director.I personally
discovered a dormant account with a total sum of $47.900,000.00 (FOURTY
SEVEN MILLION NINE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATE DOLLARS) during our
Bank's Annual Year Account Auditing.
The owner of this dormant account died on 6th May 2006. Since the death of
the deceased, nobody has operated in this account till date. Moreover,
this account has NO BENEFICIARY attached to it. Definitely, this fund will
be confiscated by our BANKING CODE OF ETHICS if it remains dormant for a
period of (7) years without any claims. In this regard, I earnestly need
your full cooperation in transferring this dormant fund out of our bank to
avoid confiscating this fund.
If you are willing to cooperate in this project, I will give you details
immediately as soon as I hear from you with the following information in
order to proceed.
1) Full Name
3) Marital Status
4) Cell Phone/Fax Number
5) Your Country
8) Your Company
Please note that you are required to keep very confidential.
Mr. Francis MILLS,