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:
- ",000,000" (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)
- "loan amount" (Beware of fake loan offers. Real lenders would not normally use free webmail addresses such as Yahoo, nor would they lend to individuals or small businesses in a different country from where they are based. Beware of mobile phones or redirector numbers!)
- "email@example.com" (This email address looks like addresses used in fake loan scams. Be suspicious of any lender who uses a free webmail address or who is based in different country from yourself.)
- 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 (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: ACUITY FINANCIAL LOAN SERVICE <email@example.com>
ACUITY FINANCIAL LOAN SERVICE <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2015 12:55:13 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: CONTACT US FOR YOUR LOW INTEREST LOAN
Â ACUITY FINANCIAL SERVICE
HAVE YOU BEEN SEARCHING FOR FINANCE? HAVE YOU BEEN LOOKING FOR A GENUINE
OPPORTUNITY WITH NO HASSLES? LOOK NO FURTHER!!! WE GUARANTEE YOU FULLY
CERTIFIED LOANS @ 3.7% INTEREST RATE PER ANNUAL. WE LOAN AMOUNT WITHIN THE
RANGE OF $2,000USD AND $500,000,000USD. CONTACT US TODAY VIA EMAIL(email@example.com)