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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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)
- "million united state 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)
- "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.
- 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.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Rev.Carlos Martinez <revcarloes@REASONNET.COM>
Date: Tue, 8 Jul 2014 14:10:10 -0700
Subject: Dear Friend
CARLOS ENGINEERING COMPANY,
No. 280 Kent Avenue
I am Rev. Carlos Martinez from France, I have been an international contractor that collects contract from Big Companies and countries, I got involved in one contract in South Africa which my payment was refused, I was down and almost lose hope.
After 2 years of this contract, I later talked to God to assist me in getting this money. I made a vow to benefit someone with the sum of Two million United State Dollars USD $2.000,000 draft payment if my payment could be approved and to my surprise I was called upon by the South Africa Government sometimes last month that my contract file have been looked into and it is ready for payment.I never believed it until I was advised by my Pastor and later moved down to South Africa and to my unbelievable surprise I was paid this money.
Due to my pledge to God I have agreed to show the person that i will be sending the Two Million United State Dollars USD $2.000,000 through ballot system on the internet which happened to be your email so you are lucky. What you have to do now is to get in touch with my secretary Mr Micheal Williams and instruct him on how to send your USD $2.000,000 Bank draft to you.
BELOW IS THE CONTACT OF MY SECRETARY
Mr Micheal Williams
E-mail address: email@example.com
Send to my secretary your contact address and telephone number,let him make arrangement for the shipment of your draft to your doorstep and also you can give him a call to confirm your address.What I want you to believe now is that this is the opportunity which God have promised you this year so it is better you have it in time before it goes again from you so contact my secretary in time.And for your information presently i am in the Qatar for another contract so i want you to go into prayer with me for the success of this contract.
With Best Regards,