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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "keep this confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- 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 (163; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr Wong Shiu Ki" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2016 04:22:21 -0800
Subject: URGENT BUSINESS PROPOSAL
I am Mr. Wong Shiu Ki, an Account Officer with the International Bank of Taipei and I have a very sensitive and confidential brief for you from international bank of Taipei, Taiwan. I am requesting for your partnership in re-profiling funds I will give the details, but in summary, the funds are coming via Bank of Taipei Taiwan.
This is a legitimate transaction; you will be paid 30% for your Management Fees". If you are interested, please write back and provide me with your confidential telephone and fax numbers, Country and I will provide further details and instructions. Please keep this confidential, as we can't afford more political problems. Finally, please note that this must be concluded within two weeks. Please write back promptly to my private email: firstname.lastname@example.org Please do not reply if you are not interested.
Please if you are not interested delete from your mailbox.
I look forward to it.
Mr Wong Shiu Ki.