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:
- "huge amount of money" (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)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "my names are " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a fake lottery scam. Consider the following facts about real lotteries:
- They don't notify winners by email.
- You can't win without first buying a lottery ticket.
- They don't randomly select email addresses to award prizes to.
- They don't use free email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) to communicate with you.
- They don't tell you to call a mobile phone number.
- They don't tell you to keep your winnings secret.
- They will never ask a winner to pay any fees to receive a prize!
Fraud email example:
From: "Harrison Wanners" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 9 Aug 2013 04:55:45 +0100
Subject: Note Please!!!
Hello: Good Evening,
I am aware that this is certainly not a conventional way of approach to establish a relationship of trust, but you will realize the need for my action. My names are Harrison Wanner, I am a South African, an accountant by profession. I work with one of the lottery companies in England, United Kingdom.
Actually, I got your contact information through the public records while searching for a reliable person: In my capacity as an accountant in my company am involved in the preparation and approval of prizes ledgers to our lottery winners. I have been working with my company for more than 10 years, highly experienced and acquainted with all the financial issues about winnings, out payments and unclaimed fund.
I am contacting you because we have loads of unclaimed lottery winnings in my company which I would like to take as an opportunity to better my life, by crediting some of the unclaimed winning funds for myself, if the winner does not come forward to claim their prizes. I cannot make claim of this unclaimed fund, in my name because I work with these lottery organization, the reason why am contacting you to seek your consent to present you as one of the Lucky winner, so that the benefit of a winner can be paid to you as the winner based on the information am going to pass to you if we come to an agreement.
My proposal to you is simple and the reality of it can be read and verified on the yahoo news link here: http://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/-1-1bn-unclaimed-Lottery-yahoofinanceuk-52515852.html
If you have idea of business that I can invest on, after sharing the fund in the following ratio: 50% for me, 50% for you out rightly, I will assure you that all the successful conclusion of this transaction have been put in place and it is 100% risk free. I shall ensure that all relevant information and legal documents that may be needed to actualize this transaction will be provided.
All I require from you is your honest cooperation and keep the transaction top confidential, to enable us succeed. I guarantee you that this will be executed under legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law, Please note that I am not just looking for anybody to do this with, but a reliable and trustworthy person, based on the huge amount of money involved in this project. If you wish to work with me, reply immediately if we can work together. I will give you a detailed explanation on the project my number, and how easy it's going to be for us to claim the fund.
Expect your swift response.