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:
- ",500,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- 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 (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Johnson Wright" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 07:13:51 +0900
Subject: In your Own Interest !
I am Dr. Johnson Wright, a US citizen, 48 years old. I am one of those that took part in the compensation in West Africa many years ago and they refused to pay me, I had paid over $20,000 while in the US, trying to get my payment all to no avail. So I decided to travel over to Nigeria with all my compensation documents,
and I was directed to meet Mr. Olonga Owen, who is a member of COMPENSATION AWARD COMMITTEE, and I contacted him and he explained everything to me. He said whoever is contacting us through emails are fake. He took me to the paying bank for the claim of my Compensation payment.
Right now I have received my compensation funds of $1,500,000.00. Moreover, Mr. Olonga Owen, showed me the full information of those that are yet to receive their payments and I saw your email address as one of the beneficiaries, that is why I decided to email you to stop dealing with those people, they are not with your fund, they are only making money out of you.
I will advise you to contact Mr. Olonga Owen directly through the below information.
Name: Mr Olonga Owen
You really have to stop dealing with those people that are contacting you and telling you that your fund is with them, it is not in anyway with them, they are only taking advantage of you and they will dry you up until you have nothing. The only money I paid after I met Mr. Olonga Owen was just $420 for the paper works, take note of that.
I wish you the best of luck.
Johnson Wright MD
5010 Emerald Lake Dr
Fort Worth, TX 76103-1333