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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a "New Partner from Paraguay" 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.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Randy Chuby <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Randy Chuby <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2014 07:57:14 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: CONTACT MY SECRETARY MR GEORGE AMBER NOW!!!.
Â Dear Friend,
I am Mr Randy Chuby and I am very happy to inform you about my success in getting that fund transferred to your account. Now I want you to contact my
secretary on his email address below and receive your compensation of $4.5M (Four Million, Five Hundred Thousand) US dollars from him:
NAME: Mr George Amber
Tel : 234-706 587 4083
Kindly reconfirm to him the following below information:
Your full name_______
Your Phone number_________
Note that if you did not send him the above information complete, he will not release the Cheque to you because he has to be sure that it is you. Ask him to
send you the total sum of ($4.5M)USD CASHIER'S CHEQUE ,which I kept for you. Note also that I will not be reached by email or phone for now
because I am currently away in Japan for investment purpose with my share and I will be busy till about six months time or a year.
Mr Randy Chuby