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)
- "might come to you as a surprise" (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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Mr Karim Donald <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2016 06:35:50 GMT
Subject: BUSINESS PROPOSAL.
This message might come to you as a surprise. However, it is my urgent need for a foreign partner that made me to contact you through this medium. My name is Mr Karim Donald, I am the manager of auditing section in one of the prime bank here in Ouagadougou Burkina Faso, West Africa. I have a business proposal in the tune of ($14.8) million US dollars. This is an abandoned fund that belongs to a deceased customer of my bank which i discovered all the related documents regarding to the deposit while i was properly arranging old files for closing remark for the year 2012. After the successful transfer; we shall share in ratio of 50% for you and 50% for me. Do keep this a top secret for security reasons.
Should you be interested so we can commence all arrangements And i will give you more information about this business proposal on how we would handle it for the successful achievement of the funds into your bank account, Please treat this business with utmost confidentiality and If you agree to work with me, kindly indicate your full names, your private telephone, fax numbers and location where the money will be remitted. I will instruct you on the next step to take.
I await your reply.
With friendly greetings,