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)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: MRS SHIRIN ZACK <email@example.com>
Reply-To: MRS SHIRIN ZACK <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2014 12:06:58 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: CONTACT PERSON: DR DONALD CHERRY
Â ATTN; DEAR FRIEND
THIS IS TO THANK YOU FOR YOUR EFFORT. I UNDERSTAND THAT YOUR HANDS WERE TIED. NOT TO WORRY. I HAVE SUCCEEDED AND THE MONEY HAS BEEN TRANSFERREDÂ INTO THE ACCOUNT PROVIDED BY AÂ NEWLY FOUND FRIEND OF MINE IN AUSTRALIA.TO APPRECIATE YOUR PAST ASSISTANCE AND COMMITMENTS I HAVE DROPPED AN AUTOMATIC TELLER MACHINE OF $1.7MILLION FOR YOU. I AM NOW IN HOSPITAL FOR TREATMENT OF CANCER WHICH MAY LED ME TO DIE ANY MOMENT FROM NOW, PLEASE REMEMBER TO PAY 10 PERCENT TO CHARITY ORGANIZATION AND REMAIN BALANCE IS FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.
MOREOVER, CONTACT DR DONALD CHERRY
WITH BELOW INFORMATION TO ENABLE HIM DELIVERY THE ATM TO YOU
CONTACT PERSON: DR DONALD CHERRY
TELEPHONE: +229 988 488 21
FORWARD MY MAIL TO HIM, AND THEN ASK HIM TO SEND THE ATM CARD TO YOU AND PROVIDE HIM THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION.
YOUR FULL NAME________________________
YOUR PHONE NUMBER____________________
TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOUR SELF AND MORE BLESS.
MRS SHIRIN ZACK