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:
- "united state of america" (this email uses bad English)
- "can i trust you?" (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.
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "David Clinton" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Mar 2016 04:02:21 +0100 (CET)
Subject: Can I Trust You? If so let us meet.
I hope you are doing good, please do permit me to introduce myself
briefly, I am LTC. David Clinton an American soldier serving in Iraq,
assigned to US. Embassy here in Baghdad.
I got your contact information due to our search for a custodian/investor
of the total sum of US. $ 30 Million that we want to transfer out of this
Prior to my explaining further, I must first make an apology for this
unsolicited email to you. I am conscious that this is certainly not
a predictable way of approach to foster a relationship of trust
but because of the sensitivity of this business transaction and the fact
that I couldn't call you on phone from here for security reason.
The money is from oil proceeds and legal, however, due to our military
status here in a combat zone, we are barred by international law to have a
bank account. Hence we are going to transfer it through a diplomatic
channel to your house directly or a safe and secured location or a bank
vault of your choice, via the safe passage of a Diplomatic Bag. The
question is, can I trust you? Because loose lips sink ships.
We have agreed to pay you a professional fees at the rate of 30% (Thirty
percent) of the total Thirty Million (US $ 30.000.000.00) United State of
America Dollars for your assistance and if your business proposal suits
our need, you will assist us to invest our share.
If we can be of one accord, please respond to my private email address:
Be assured that this transaction is totally risk free and upon receiving
your response, I will then furnish you with a comprehensive details of
this business transaction and what is required of you.
It will be proper for us to set a face-to-face meeting for further
discussion online due to my deployment if you have a Webcam.
I await your response.
LTC. David Clinton.