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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
Date: Tue, 1 Dec 2015 19:58:47 +0200
Subject: BUSINESS DEAL.
Attention: Proposed Partner,
My name is Mr. Eric Johnson, I am writing to seek your co-operation over this business proposal, Am the chief Financial Officer with a well-known bank here in South Africa. First i must solicit your confidence in this transaction; this is by virtue as being utterly confidential and top secret. Though I know that a transaction of this magnitude will make any one apprehensive and worried.
My contacting you is based on a secret discovery of a dormant account with a total sum of $ 20,000,000.00 USD during our Bank's Annual Year Account Auditing. It will be in my interest to work and finish this transaction with you. If you can be a collaborator to this transaction, the banking law and guideline here stipulates that if such money remained unclaimed after three years, the money will be transferred into the Bank treasury as unclaimed fund.
Most importantly, you will be required to;
(1). Act as the original beneficiary of the funds. (2). Receive the funds into a business/private bank account. (3). At the completion of this transaction, the sharing rates shall be 60% for me, 35% for you while 5% will be used after the conclusion of the transaction, to settle all foreign expenses made from both end in respect to the securing of the funds.
You are not to face any difficulties or legal implications as I will secure all the vital documents needed in this transaction. Please indicate your positive interest immediately for us to proceed if not please ignore, remember this is absolutely confidential because my Bank does not know about it. Get back to me for more details on this private email account; email@example.com
Thanks for Your Cooperation.
Mr. Eric Johnson
Chief Financial Officer