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)
- "confidential business" (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. Anthony Oke" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 17 Apr 2016 02:50:04 +0300
Subject: (Re: MUTUAL BENEFIT!!!)
RE: Confidential Business Proposal!
I got your contact from my Google research. I trust my instinct and my instinct has never failed me in the past. I am convinced that you are the person who can assist me in this pending transaction.
I am Mr. Anthony Oke, A bank manager with the United Bank For Africa. I am contacting you based on my personal interest to develop a mutual business relationship with you in your country. The amount and terms of executing the deal will be made known to you upon receiving a positive response from you. I solicit for your assistance to execute this transaction.
I will give you a complete picture of this transaction as soon as I hear from you.
I look forward to hearing from you soonest.
Mr. Anthony Oke