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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Kofi Mensah <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Kofi Mensah <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2013 07:35:30 +0900 (JST)
Subject: Dear Friend,
I Mr. Kofi Mensah i am in charge of auditing and accounting section of BANK in West Africa with due respect and regard. I have decided to contact you on a business transaction that will be very beneficial to both of us at the end of the transaction.
Forgive my indignation, if it might offend without your prior consent through this channel, I need a reliable honest and trust worthy person to entrust this business with i was simply inspired and motivated to pick your contact. I know you are capable to champion in business contact me please.
Mr. Kofi Mensah.