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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "waiting for your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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: "Mr Barry Cyril" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2017 09:53:47 -0800
Subject: I am Waiting for your urgent reply
I am Ali Faraj Alrabti, personal air pilot to the late Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. I'm one of the pilot who defected to malta during revolation. Before a revolt pushed him out from power in August 2011, he trusted me and instructed me to purchase ammunition from his Russia business man with some funds, this funds was originally deposited in a secret finance house in europe.
I want you to work with me and receive the funds in your country, I am also very lucky that my dealings with him is top priority secret because no one know about the funds. You are the only person am revealing this secret to, so you have to keep it between me and you.
As a libyan I have access to invest this money in my country but since everybody knew I was the personal Pilot to him, the world might raise Eye Brow if should I single handedly withdraw and invest this whole money because its too huge for a single individual like me hence my contacting you..
I will tell you how much is involved as soon as I get your reply through my private e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am presently in UK, you can also reach me on my mobile: +442033899770.
I am Waiting for your urgent response.
Ali Faraj Alrabti.