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)
- "huge sum 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)
- "email@example.com" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Sheikh Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 4 Dec 2013 02:29:24 -0600
Subject: Urgently Messagee
My name is Sheikh Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib from Syria, the former leader of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces.
I have a very serious problem that need an urgent attention which I believe you can urgently solve for me, it does not require you to make any trip.
I have some huge sum of money in overseas, that I want you to handle and receive for me because of my current state of affairs.
This is totally lawful.
The funds will be legitimately transfer into your bank account through bank wire transfer, there is no single risk involves,
it will take (7) seven bank working days to receive the funds in your bank account and there is no delay in the process. I will reward you.
Urgently reply to permit me to give you further details of the funds and the bank location.
If you have any suggestions do not hesitate to let me know by return e-mail:- firstname.lastname@example.org
Sheikh Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib