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)
- "contact me immediately" (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 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: "Sgt Mark Edwards" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 5 Mar 2017 09:27:35 -0800
Subject: Re:United States Soldier:Afghanistan
Good day and compliments, I know this letter will definitely come to you as a surprise, but I implore you to take the time to go through it carefully as the decision you make will go off a long way to determine my future and continued existence.Please allow me to introduce myself.I am Sgt Mark Edwards, in 4th Battalion, 64th Armored Regiment unit here that Patrols the helm and province, Afghanistan. I am desperately in need of assistance and I have summoned up courage to contact you.
I am presently in Afghanistan and I found your contact particulars in an address journal. I am seeking your assistance to evacuate the sum of $25m (Twenty five Million United States Dollars) to you,as far as I can be assured that it will be safe in your care until I complete my service here.This is no stolen money and there are no dangers involved.
SOURCE OF MONEY:
Some money in US DOLLARS was discovered and concealed in barrels at a location in helman province when we conducted a foot patrol and it was agreed by all party present that the money be shared among us.This might appear as an illegal thing to do but I tell you what? No compensation can make up for the risks we have taken with our lives in this hellhole.The above figure was given to me as my share and to conceal this kind of money became a problem for me, so with the help of a Canadian contact working with the UN here (his office enjoys some immunity) I was able to get the package out to a safe location entirely out of trouble spot.He does not know the real contents of the package as he believes that it belongs to an American who died in an air raid, who before giving up trusted me to hand over the package to his close relative.
I have now found a secured way of getting the package out of Afghanistan for you to pick up. I do not know how long I will remain here, as I have been lucky to survive 2 suicide bomb attacks by Pure Divine intervention. This and other reasons put into consideration have prompted me to reach out for help. If it might be of interest to you then Endeavor to contact me immediately and we would work out the necessary formalities but I pray that you are discreet about this mutually benefiting relationship.
Please reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sgt Mark Edwards,
United States Soldier:Afghanistan