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)
- "million british pounds" (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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Shirley Garrood" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 21 Jun 2013 10:05:30 -0700
Subject: FROM MRS. SHIRLEY GARROOD
201 Bishops gate london
My names is Shirley Garrood I am the finance director of Henderson group, Please contact me on my private email for an urgent deal, There is a client in our investment company who has the same last name with you and he died in the last Japan tsunami disaster with his entire family, he left a huge amount 5.5 million British pounds in Henderson group.
Please email me your contact number and your private email for more details, so that I can present you as the next of kin to get the fund out of our company for our own benefit.
Forward to me your full names, occupation and your private email address/telephone number.
I wait for your immediate responds so we could proceed.