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:
- "keep this confidential" (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 "Yukos oil" scam. The criminals who send such emails have no connection to Yukos Oil. The emails are usually sent from Nigeria. The only money that ever changes hands in this scam is from you to the criminals.
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Presley Tito" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2014 22:26:22 +0200
Subject: Your Kind Assistance
- This mail is in HTML. Some elements may be ommited in plain text. -
I am Mr. Presley Tito and I represent Mr. Mikhail Khordokovsky the former C.E.O of Yukos Oil Company in Russia. I have a very sensitive and confidential brief from this top oligarch to ask for your partnership inre-profiling funds US$42.3 Million. I will give the details, but in summary,the funds are coming via Unclaimed Asset/Assets Re-United Firm in Switzerland. This is a legitimate transaction. You will be paid 30% for your "Management Fees".
If you are interested, please write back by mail: email@example.com and provide me with your confidential telephone number,fax number and email address and I will provide further details and instructions. Please keep this confidential; we can't afford more political problems.
Finally, please note that this must be concluded within two weeks. Please write me back immediately through (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mr. Presley Tito.