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 united states 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)
- "% commission" (Beware of any scheme that involves depositing checks or money orders or receiving wire transfers in your bank account and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere, for a percentage of 5-15% of the total. Such offers are *always* fraudulent and you will be liable for the entire amount when the checks, money orders or wire transfers turn out to be fraudulent. Any money already forwarded comes out of *your* pocket then. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Richard Bright <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2014 07:22:45 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: URGENT ATTENTION !
I am Steven Roland a citizen of Sierra-Leon living in Dakar Senegal as a refugee,I contacted you because I needed your help to assist me invest my inheritance in a profitable venture. I inherited the sum of US$70M(Seventy Million United States Dollars) from my late father which he deposited in a private security company in abroad before he died, he was a very rich diamond dealer before he died and I am looking for a reliable and honest foreign partner who can assist me to retrieve and invest this money into a profitable venture.
l am living as a refugee l cannot transfer this money myself and this is why I needed a trust worthy partner to help me out.
l am willing to give you 30% commission out of the total money once you assist me retrieve the money from the company in abroad.
l will want you to be honest with me please that is all l needed from you,
l am waiting for your responses.