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 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)
- "foreign exchange" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Brian Gilvary" <CherylW@elkridgefamilydentistry.com>
Date: Wed, 8 Oct 2014 15:02:27 -0700
My name is Brian Gilvary , Executive Director, Foreign
Exchange, Eco bank Plc. I am 54 years, and I have being in the current
position since 2005, and I may be retiring before the next 3 years, and
that is what necessitates this brief message to you with firm belief
that we both can mutually compliment one another in a once in a life
time opportunity' that's currently available in my office and which I
intend to maximally exploit.
There is twenty eight million dollars
($28,000.000.00) in an escrow account under my direct supervision whose
owner, colonel Mouarmer Gaddafi has been killed. The colonel did not
name any specific next of kin, but he did indicated that his son, S. Al
Islam should assume ownership in the event of his death. It is not
possible for the National Transition Council N.T.C of Libya to trace
this fund or any other in other several African banks because the late
president merely used special codes, and unlike in western countries
where banks are under obligation to disclose every deposits with
secret codes to government for possible asset frozen, such arbitrary
regulation does not applies in Africa.
And for now, Gaddafi family is confused and totally disorganized to trace
some of their wealth scattered around the world, and this is why I have
decided to strike
now. I will assemble all the necessary papers for transfer including a
purported letter of consent from Gaddafi son or any member of his
family, and upon ratification by head of our legal department whom I
have incorporated into this deal, and we will secure classified
international monitory documents/certificate for legal back up,then
transfer is now ready to be made to
an account to be provided by you anywhere in the world.
After a successful transfer to your bank account, I will destroy every
relating to this transaction, and 12 months after, I will put in my
resignation letter. Mission accomplished. I will give you not more
than 40% of the entire fund for your commitment, support and trust, 5%
for miscellaneous expenses that may arise in the course of transfer,
while you hold the remaining 55% for me in trust and advice on possible
viable investment options for my consideration pending final
disengagement from Eco bank.
This is a real life situation as I am
determined to prove to you in the course of the transaction, and if you
are persuaded, you should without delay forward your bank details where
you want the funds transferred. Your telephone number is also essential
for effective communication.
If you are okay with this proposal please
reply to my private email account: email@example.com
Treat as confidential.
With Best Regards.
Executive Director, Forex,