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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million united states 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)
- "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)
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Abdul Al Fahim" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2016 08:52:29 +0100
Subject: DEAR FRIEND,
IF THIS MESSAGE INTRUDE INTO YOUR PRIVACY OR CAUSE YOU ANY INCONVENIENCE, I SINCERELY APOLOGISE AS THAT'S NOT THE PURPOSE.
I AM ONE OF THE SENIOR STAFF OF EMIRATES DEVELOPMENT BANK, HERE IN ABU-DHABI - UAE. WE HAVE AN AMOUNT OF MONEY TO THE TUNE OF FIVE HUNDRED MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS (US$500,000.000.) ONLY, FLOATING IN OUR BANK THAT WE CAN RE-PROFILE FOR OUR MUTUAL BENEFIT IF YOU AGREE TO COOPERATE, COLLABORATE AND WORK WITH ME. THIS IS JUST BETWEEN YOU AND I, AND WE CAN SPLIT THE FUNDS IN THE RATIO OF 50/50% APIECE, AS I DON'T WANT TO BE GREEDY. YOU WILL BE THE RECIPIENT AND I WILL SHOW YOU HOW WE CAN EXECUTE THE DEAL. THERE IS NO RISK INVOLVED AND IT WILL BE A HITCH-FREE TRANSACTION.
IF YOU AGREE TO WORK WITH ME, KINDLY INDICATE YOUR INTEREST TO DO SO AND I WILL GIVE YOU THE DETAILS.
THIS IS STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL AND MUST NOT BE DISCLOSED TO A THIRD PARTY PLEASE.
FOR FURTHER COMMUNICATION/CORRESPONDENCES, KINDLY AND URGENTLY REPLY TO MY PRIVATE EMAIL AS FOLLOWS: email@example.com
ABDUL AL FAHIM