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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "money laundering" ("anti-terrorist", "anti-money laundering" or "drug-free" certificates are a common way for criminals in fake lottery scams and other Advance Fee scams to get you to send money to them. There are no such certificates in the real banking world. )
- "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)
- "await your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "liberia" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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: Koushik Datta <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2014 20:20:02 +0100
Subject: RE:INVESTMENT FUNDING
($50M)Fifty million united state dollars for urgent investment.
I am Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor Senior senator of bond county based in
This investment funds belongs to I and my husband the ex-President of
Liberia. Mr.Charles Taylor and I have decided to look for a
reliable person to help us invest this funds over there in he/her
Country.These said funds investment amount $50musd is been assigned by I
and my husband for investment project in your country.
please i need a partner who can handle this noble investment project
properly, I want to buy properties in your country because,here in Liberia
west Africa we do find it hard to trust people who can help us in foreign
land and safeguard our investment funds.
All that am looking for is a trustworthy and God fearing person to handle
this great opportunity,
please lets just achieve a common business goal with you as partners.I want
to believe that we can build a cordial business relationship. 10% of
the total sum has been assigned as your share/commission for receiving this
funds in your bank account.I Shall visit you with
my family once the funds hits into your account for the onward investment.
Kindly get back to me with the following information's
of yours to enable me start the processing.
1. Your Full name & Age:-----
Occupation & Position:--------
Above all, I wish to assure you that the funds in question is not an act
of Terrorist Funding, neither Money Laundering nor Drug-funding. Thus, the
transfer will follow the normal protocol of funds transfer, backed up with
its legal documents so that you will not encounter any difficulties/problem
with your Federal Monetary Control authorities.
I await your urgent response to my private email: email@example.com
Thanks and God bless
Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor
Ex-First Lady of Liberia.