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:
- "money laundering" ("anti-terrorist", "anti-money laundering" or "drug-free" certificates are a common way for criminals in fake lottery scams and other Advance Fee scams to get you to send money to them. There are no such certificates in the real banking world. )
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr Harvey L Spencer" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2015 16:36:48 +0100
Subject: INVESTMENT INTEREST.
I am representing an investment interest from Syria, interested in overseas investment involving large volume of funds, for which we seek your participation as an overseas representative to handle the investment in your country.
These funds belong to my client who is a native of Syria but presently a political asylum seeker in United Kingdom due to the Uprising and Civil War in Syria. He wants to invest a large amount of funds in your country under qualified foreign partnership, these funds has no such illegalities like drug trafficking, money laundering or any financial crime attached to it. If you feel disposed towards the solicited role, please indicate by prompt response, so that I may provide you further details of the transaction, and also let you know what will be coming to you as remuneration for your solicited role. After that we shall then come to an understanding concerning the prospective areas of investment that will be conducive for investors of foreign descent. Bear in mind however, that this is a legitimate transaction, and the only reason why strict privacy is advised, is as the result of restrictions of the Syrian regulations.
I look forward to your prompt response, send me an email in reply to firstname.lastname@example.org
Your prompt attention to this matter would be greatly esteemed.
Dr Harvey L Spencer