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:
- "utmost confidentiality" (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 next of kin scam.
- 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: "James T. Widdop" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 27 Dec 2016 17:01:10 +0100
Subject: $13,250,000.00 business proposal
My name is Mr. James T. Widdop; I am a senior banker in a bank here in the United Kingdom and I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin to our deceased client who died in a fatal accident along with his entire family, so that is ($13,250,000.00)Thirteen Million Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand USDollars can be transferred to your account has the next of kin without any hitch since he did not mention any Next of Kin when his account was opened.
No risk involved in this transaction, I assure you that this transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law both in your country and here in UK once the fund is transferred to your bank account.
Please treat this business proposal with utmost confidentiality and write back to this email firstname.lastname@example.org for the transfer further details only if you are interested.
James T. Widdop
Please reply to ( email@example.com )