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:
- "i want to solicit your attention" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "trunk box" (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)
- "trunk boxes" (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)
- "chambers" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Capt. Davis Ariel" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 30 Jul 2016 20:29:52 +0300
Subject: GREETINGS FROM CAPTAIN DAVIS OF US ARMY
I am sorry to encroach into your privacy in this manner; I found your name listed in the Trade Center Chambers of Commerce directory here in Iraq, I find it pleasurable to offer you my partnership in business. I only pray this time that your address is still valid. I want to solicit your attention in receiving money on my behalf.
I am Capt. Davis Ariel, officer in the US Army; i am one of the U.S. Army deployed to Iraq in the beginning of the war in 2003, and also a West Point Graduate presently serving in the Military with the 82nd Air Borne Division Peace keeping force in Baghdad, Iraq. I am on the move to Syria from Iraq as the last batch just left, and i really need your help in assisting me with the safe keeping of two military trunk boxes which has just arrived the USA from Iraq. I hope you can be trusted? Though, I would like to hold back certain information for security reasons for now until you have found time to visit the BBC website news below to enable you have insight regarding what I intend to share with you, believing that it would be of your desired interest in one way or the other.
if you can be trusted, I will explain further when i get a response from you. Get back to me having visited the above websites to enable us discuss in a more vivid manner to the best of your understanding? I must say that I'm very uncomfortable sending this message to you without knowing truly if you would misconstrue the importance and decide to go public.
In this regards, I will not hold back to say that the essence of this letter is strictly for mutual benefit of you and I and nothing more. I will be more vivid and coherent in my next email in this regards. Meanwhile, could you send me a mail confirming you have visited the site and understood my intentions? Am standing by for your urgent response now that we are leaving Iraq to Syria.
You can get back to me via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Capt. Davis Eric Ariel