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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "a security company " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "diplomatic immunity" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist 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: Rick <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2016 15:24:17 -0400
Subject: You help is needed here BVOLXCNPRR
Thank you very much for your reply. I appreciate your effort towards helping me. However, can I trust you with a box of fund that was discovered by the Marine Patrol Team headed by me in Afghanistan since 2003? It contains Three million five hundred thousand dollars and 45KG gold bars ($3.5m and 45KG Gold bars) which was believed to be for the Taliban to sponsor the never-ending war in the country.
I have taken control of the box more than 10 years now. I managed to move the box containing the fund and gold out of Afghanistan through Diplomatic Immunity to a Security company in West Africa and the box has been deposited as family treasure for security reasons.
After 22 years of serving in the Army as a sergeant, I wish to retire from the service. I hereby seek for your partnership. Please stand as my Foreign Investor to receive the entire funds on my behalf until my retirement.
Am ready to offer you up to 15 percent of the total business proceeds.
Thank you very much and have a nice day.