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:
- "i will like you to " (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: "Mr. X" <xx@yy>
Date: Mon, 16 May 2016 08:36:07 -0400
Subject: Did you recieve my Earlier email?
I know you don't know me but i meant no harm sending you this note, just that i don't have anyone out there to talk to,as i lost my parents when i was 8 and i am contacting you to help me as i am much in need of TRUST and help.I lived in New Jersey before joining the army.
My name is Captain Ken Bruce in the United States Army and a member of the USARPAC Medical Team that was in Baghdad, Iraq but have now been deployed to Kabul Afghanistan to conclude my tour.I want to share important information about my experience while serving with the U.S 1st Armored in Baghdad before my redeployment to Kabul that would be of mutual benefit to us. I however cannot reveal all the information now until we agree to cooperate in this mutually beneficial enterprise. As a first step, I will like you to visit the BBC website links below to enable you have an insight into what I intend to share with you.
After digesting the information contained in the website I will like a confirmation of that so that we can discuss the matter of mutual interest. I must confess that I am very uncomfortable sending this message to you by such means but I am rather constrained because of time. I cannot predict your reaction, you may misconstrue the importance and decide to go public, which will be rather unfortunate. I can only state that the essence of this message is strictly mutual.I will be more explicit upon a positive response from you. Please respond with a confirmation that you have visited the website and that you are keen on learning more. I will await your thoughts via my personal email address: email@example.com
Thanks for your time,
Mr Ken Bruce