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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "million 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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: General Larry Nicholson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 8 Oct 2014 18:26:49 +0000
Subject: Re: Very Important
I'm Larry Nicholson of the US-NATO COALITION troops in Iraq Bagdad on Joint Monitoring and Peacekeeping mission. What is bothering me now is the box of fund $10.5 million dollars recovered from one of the home of the insurgent leader Abu Kali, when we went on raid few days ago. I really needed you to help in moving this fund out of Bagdad Iraq so that we can both invest it in a profitable business down there in your country or wherever you may choose . hopefully, if we succeed in moving this fund out of Bagdad, i will be relocating to your country after my service here in Iraq for a peaceful mission .Please i sincerely seek your indulgence to give this proposal a positive thought and to help me in moving this fund out of Bagdad, do not let it scare you in any way because it has to do with my life and even your elevation and way to greatness. For your efforts in this transaction, you shall receive 40% of the entire amount while 60% you will invest it into any good business with full documentation. Utmost confidentiality and secrecy are what is needed from you so that the shipment and delivery of the box to you will be successful.I believe you can handle this matter but if you can not, there is no problem, but be kind enough to notify me of your inability immediately.