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:
- "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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- 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:
Date: Sat, 02 Jul 2016 07:39:26 -0700
Subject: URGENT PROPOSAL.
My name is Mr. Stephen Tshabalala, a financial consultant attached to fidel=
ity investments international, a fund management company with over US$2,000=
,000,000.00 (Two Billion United States Dollars) capital investment fund. I =
handle all our investor's direct capital funds and extracts 1.2% Excess Max=
imum Return Capital Profit (EMRCP) per annum on each of the Investor's Marg=
inal Capital Fund.
As an expert in this profession, I have funds amounting to US$25,000,000.00=
(Twenty-Five Million United States Dollars) from the Investor's EMRCP whic=
h I want you to stand as an Investor to receive the funds as Annual Investm=
ent Proceeds from Fidelity Marginal Capital Fund for our own partnership bu=
siness investment in your country.
All confirmable documents to support this Investment Fund will be made avai=
lable to you. Meanwhile, I have worked out the modalities and technicalitie=
s so that the funds can be claimed in any of our six clearing houses withou=
t any hitches. All I require is your honest co-operation. I guarantee that =
this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement and no government invo=
lvement at all.
Please email your response and brief introduction of yourself to the below =
email address: email@example.com