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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
- email@example.com (Yahoo, Hong Kong; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "IKPONG ETTEH" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2014 06:15:05 -0700
Subject: [**SPAM**] RE:QUEST FOR INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP 18/09
REPLY TO: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am ENG IKPONG ETTEH, the Assistant Director of Project, Niger Delta
Development Commission, (NDDC.) This is a Nigerian Government Agency established to
alleviate the suffering of the Niger Deltans indigene by carrying out
poverty reducing projects.
I am interested in investing in your country but i am faced with the problem
of finding a trustworthy partner who will advice me on the viable areas to
invest in and at the same time, also act as my representative. It is on this
reason that i am contacting you.
Please, indicate your interest by contacting me through my private email
address above for more details.
I await in anticipation of your cooperation.
ENG IKPONG ETTEH