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:
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: Sarah Kon <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Sarah Kon <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2014 23:27:24 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Ms Sarah Kon Banker
I am Ms Sarah Kon from Republic of Togo.I saw your contact through KIRIBATI business directory/chamber of commerce and will like to invest in your beautiful Island
Please I need your urgent reply to this proposal.I saw your contact through your country,s chamber of commerce and decided to contact you after going through your profile.I am a banker from a known bank in Republic of Togo which I shall reveal the name if you accept to assist in this deal.Recently our customer (foreign expatriate)who deposited the sum of Fifteen million united states of American dollars only died in a plane crash with his next of kin.He was a government contractor that deals on pipeline and oil services,bridge and road contractor.The bank asked me to look for his relations to claim the funds.
I seek your assistance to stand as relation of the decease to enable us claim this fund.According to bank rules and regulation,failure to provide relation within a specific period will enable the bank confiscate the funds.This is a risk free transaction because I have all relevant document/information about this transaction and will pass it to you for perusal.The deal is going to be 50% for you and 50% for me.
Please call me for more clarification on my private number +228 97898719 or send me your telephone number to call you.Please treat this as highly confidential because your information is held secret by me.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon
Ms Sarah Kon Banker