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:
- "please endeavor to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million us 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)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr Buba William." (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2013 07:59:04 -0700
Subject: CAN YOU HANDLE THIS BUSINESS ???
I am aware that this is an unconventional way of relaying an important message such as this. I did try without success to locate both your contact address or phone/fax number and as such, I resorted in contacting you via email. I am Dr Buba William, An investment consultant working with Barclays Bank Ghana Ashanti Region Branch at their offshore department.
I will be happy to work this deal out with you if you have a corporate or personal Bank Account and if you are capable to keep TOP SECRET. During one of our periodic auditing I discovered a dormant accounts with holding balance of US $25.8 Million US Dollars only. If you are not familiar with Dormant Accounts,
I am constrained to issue more details about this business until your response is received. If you know that you are capable to handle large or small amount on trust and can keep secret and ready to take 50% and I will take 50%, then get back to me immediately with your details by return mail at<email@example.com> tell me more about yourself, while I look forward to receive the above information.
I want to re-assure you that this business is 100% risk free the transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect us from any breach of the law.
Please endeavor to provide me the following in your reply:
1.Your Full Name:
2.Your Contact Address:
I urgently hope to get your response as soon as possible.
Dr Buba William.