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.
- 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.
- 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: "Philip Mithobeni" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2015 06:07:53 -0800
Subject: Re: Investment Proposal
Attention: President / C.E.O
Compliment of the season, I am Engineer Philip Mthobeni, Projects Supervisor under South African Ministry of Minerals and Energy Resources. I am making this contact with you based on the committees need for an individual / company who is willing to assist us with a solution to an overdue contract claim.
It is understandable that you might be a little bit apprehensive because you do not know me, I got your contact information from a reputable business / professional directory of your country which gives me assurance of your legibility as a person.
If you feel this may be of interest, write me back on my private e-mail or call my direct telephone Tel/Fax: +27 86 766 6177 for more details and clarification.
On receipt of your response, I will forward to you further information which will give you a clearer overview of this opportunity.
Engr. Philip Mthobeni
Email Add: firstname.lastname@example.org