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:
- "to your nominated bank account" (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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "leiwang" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 6 Feb 2014 17:43:58 +0700 (WIT)
Subject: Treat As Immediate
Let me start by introducing myself. I am Lei Wang, Executive Director and
Chief Financial Officer of Bank of China (Hong Kong).
I will need you to assist me in executing this Business Project from
HongKong to your country. Twenty five millions United State Dollars only
in my branch.
Please endeavour to observe utmost discretion in all matters concerning
this issue. Once the funds have been transferred to your nominated bank
account we shall then share in the ratio of 70% for me, 30% for you. If
you are interested please get back to me. Finally after that I shall
provide you with more details of this operation.