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:
- "foreign exchange" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: david kim <email@example.com>
Reply-To: david kim <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:52:33 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Department of Foreign Exchange control
>From David Kim
Chief Accounting Officer
Department of Foreign Exchange control
Ministry of Finance Beijing
People Republic of China.(PRC)
Re TRANSFER OF $25M FOR INVESTMENT.
MY NAME IS DAVID KIM. I AM A DIRECTOR WITH CHINA MINISTRY OF FINANCE.I NEED URGENT ASSIST FROM YOU TO RECEIVE THIS AMOUNT $25M WHICH ACCRUED AS INTEREST FROM A BLOCKED FUNDS WHICH WILL BE USED FOR INVESTMENT IN YOUR COUNTRY. THE MONEY WILL BE TRANSFERRED FROM BANK OF CHINA WITHIN 48HRS I RECEIVE YOUR RESPONSE BECAUSE THE FUNDS HAS BEEN PROGRAMMED IN THE WIRE TRANSFER DATA BASE OF BANK OF CHINA FOR TRANSFER. IF YOU ARE READY TO PARTNER WITH ME,CONTACT ME ON MY EMAIL TO FINALIZE DISCUSSION IMMEDIATELY CONCERNING THE TRANSFER WHICHÂ WILL BE DONE WITHIN 2 DAYS. WE HAVE ONLY 7 DAYS TO DO THIS DEAL OTHERWISE THE OPPORTUNITY IS LOST.
I LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING FROM YOU AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
MINISTRY OF FINANCE BEIJING CHINA