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:
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "there are practically no risks involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: WILLIAMS PARK <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: WILLIAMS PARK <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2014 01:42:11 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: REPLY URGENT
How are you? This message might meet you in utmost surprise however, it's just my urgent need for a foreign partner that made me contact you for this transaction, My name is Mr. Williams Park, I am a banker by profession and I have packaged a financial transaction that will benefit both of us, as an officer in my Bank; it is my duty to send in a financial report to my Head Office in the end of each business year.
On the course of last four years 2010 business report, I discovered that my branch in which I am rank officer made Six Million Five hundred Thousand United State Dollars ($6,500.000.00) which my Head Office are not aware of and will never be aware of it. I have placed this fund on SUSPENSE ACCOUNT with no beneficiary. As an officer of this bank I cannot be directly connected to this money, this informed my contacting you. Indeed I will appreciate if you can receive this money in your bank account and get 30% of the total funds. There are practically no risks involved, it is simple bank to bank transfer, all I need from you is to stand claim as one of our customer who has been banking with us and the depositor of this funds with my branch, so that upon your request for its immediate transfer my head Office will not hesitate to transfer to your designated bank account.
I will give you more details once I hear from you declaring your interest to cooperate with me.
Mr. Williams Park