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:
- "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)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
Fraud email example:
From: PERSONAL LETTER <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2013 01:42:01 +0200 (CEST)
Subject: MY WISH, 10% FOR YOURSELF AND 90% FOR CHARITY
I know my message will come a surprise to you. However, i am writing
as the spirit of God directs me this hour. I have been suffering from
esophagus cancer for over 9 years, now my doctor gave a conclusion
today that i will not survive the next 48hrs on this terminal life.
I lost my husband years ago, and with no kids left to inherit all we
labored for. It is my sincere wish that i donate for charity this $27
Million US Dollars, kept in fix deposit in our formal country of aboard.
I want you to sincerely carryout this obligation to reach the needy and
orphanage homes as well as churches in your country. Urgently contact
my lawyer, she is a God fearing woman, she will guide you with
proceedings to get the Fund transferred to you.
HER CONTACT BELOW:
Name: Kate C. Henderson (Esq)
Phone: +229-67 08 27 68
Thank God for you.
Mrs. Marra Alfonso