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:
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Dennis Paul." (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 21 Jun 2013 20:41:41 +0200
Subject: CAN YOU PLEASE CALL ME
My Name is Dennis Paul; i hope all is well with you and your family? I went through your country Chamber of Commerce and I find your profile and email, i decided to contact you also need your assistance. I am a soldier working as United Nations peace keeping troop in Afghanistan, on war against terrorism. I have in my possession the sum of $7.5 million USD which i made here in Afghanistan and i deposited this money with a Red Cross Security Agent. I want you to stand as my beneficiary and receive the fund and keep it safe so that as soon as i am through, you will assist me to invest it in a good profitable business venture, I will give you %30 of the total money for the assistance after you have receive the money.
Please i need your urgent reply. firstname.lastname@example.org