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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "i got your address from " (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Natan Pang" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 18 Nov 2014 16:46:44 +0700
Subject: From Mr. Natan Pang...
I am Mr. Natan Pang a banker, I have emailed you earlier on without any response from you. In my first email I mentioned about our deceased customer a citizen of your country whose relatives my Bank cannot locate to claim his estate.
I got your address from online directory service and decided to write you as I cannot achieve this opportunity alone without the support of a foreigner. I am asking for your consent so that I can present you to my Bank Management as the next of kin to the late customer account proceeds value ($4,000,000)(Four Million United State Dollars) to be transferred into your account for our mutual benefit
At the successful transfer of this fund, we shall share the fund on a pro rata based percentage [50% - 50%]. I am compelled to do this because I do not want my Bank to take over the ownership of this fund.
If you are interested and in agreement with me, get back to me quickly and I will send to you all the information you may need to proceed without coming to the Bank, and be rest assured that it is risk free project.
I look forward to your reply.
Mr. Natan Pang