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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Afzzal Ahmed <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Afzzal Ahmed <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2014 08:57:01 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Urgent reply.
Â Assaalamu Alaikkum my dear friend,
I am Mr Afzzal Ahmed, the chief operating officer with my bank and I want to inform you that an amount of US$31.6 million will be moved on your name as the Foreign Business Partner to our late deceased customer Mr Waleed Hazaa Salim, I need your help to receive this money as we shall share the money in the ratio of 60:40%. You will receive this amount through a bank wire transfer.
Please send your full names, direct telephone numbers, and home address, more details of how to claim the form will be given upon your reply.
Your quick response will be highly appreciated.
Mr. Afzzal Ahmed.