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:
- ",500,000" (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.
- email@example.com (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr Michael Mensah" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 23 Jul 2016 02:25:06 -0700
Subject: Re: GET BACK TO ME
My Good friend,
Greetings to you
I am The Branch Manager of a leading Bank here in Ghana; I am seeking your
co-operation to present you to my bank head office as the official partner
to Dr. George Brumley our late customer who was a well-known philanthropists
to many charitable causes worldwide.
Before he died in 2003, he made a deposit to the tune of SEVEN MILLION FIVE
HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS (USD$7,500,000.00) which he intended to donate to
charitable causes in Africa. His intentions were clearly stated in the
documents he issued to our Bank and the documents are still intact.
Dr. George Brumley, was a retired American physician based in Atlanta. He
was involved in an air crash along with his wife and only daughter. Other
family members who could have claim this fund also died along with - you
can confirm from the link below:
No other person knows about the details and vital documents of this account.
My intention is to use my influence to inscribe your name and information
in the documents as the official partner to Dr. George Brumley appointed to
continue his charitable causes worldwide.
So, if you are interested, forward to me your Full Name, contact address,
occupation, country of origin and your private telephone and fax number so
that I can give you more details regarding the deal.my private email is
Mr Michael Mensah