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)
- "waiting for your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "diplomatic courier" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "offshore account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Dr.Philip Houseman
Date: Sat, 7 Nov 2015 04:22:37 +0100
Subject: I NEED YOUR KIND TRUST!!!
My Dear Friend,
I do foresee the surprise this letter will bring to you as it comes from a stranger, but be assured that it comes with the best of intentions. I got your contact from a search into the Internet and was inspired to seek your co-operation. I am aware of the risks involved in sending this letter by email, therefore I ask that you consider the factors below and keep it strictly confidential.
My name is Dr. Philip Houseman; I am an American soldier stationed here in Aleppo Syria; we have some amount of funds that we want to move out of the country.
One passionate appeal I will make to you is not to discuss this matter with anybody, should you have reasons to reject this offer, please and please destroy this message as any leakage of this information will be too bad for us soldier's here in Syria. I do not know how long we will remain here, and i have survived two suicide bomb attacks by the special grace of God, this and other reasons I will mention later has prompted me to reach out for help, I honestly want this matter to be resolved immediately, All I require is your honest co-operation with a ready hand, focused mind and a sincere heart.
My partners and I need a good partner someone we can trust. It is oil money and legal. Basically since we are working for the government we cannot keep these funds, but we want to transfer and move the funds to you, so that you can keep it for us in your safe account or an offshore account. But we are moving it through Diplomatic means, to send it to your house directly or a bank of your choice using Diplomatic Courier Service.
The most important thing is that can we trust you? Once the funds get to you, you take your 30% out and keep our own.70%. Your own part of this deal is to find a safe place where the funds can be sent to. Our own part is sending it to you. If you are interested I will furnish you with more details. But the whole process is simple and we must keep a low profile at all times.
Waiting for your urgent response, This business is risk free. Contact via: firstname.lastname@example.org
With Respect and Salutation,
Dr. Philip Houseman
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