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)
- "million us dollars" (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)
- "waiting for your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "my names are " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Luke Taylor" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 2015 12:46:43 -0500
Subject: Dear Friend
I hope my email will get to you in good condition, I am in need of your assistance. My names are Luke Taylor, I'm the personal assistant to finance minister of South Sudan we have about fifty Million US dollars that we want to move out of the country. My partners and I need a good partner, someone we can trust. This is oil money and legal. We are moving it through diplomatic means because unrest in my country South Sudan. The most important thing is that can we trust you? Once the funds get to you, you will take 20% out and keep our own 80%. Your own part of this deal is to find a safe place where these funds can be kept save, because of the unrest in my country presently. 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