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:
- "huge amount of money" (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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "John David" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 29 Oct 2017 12:38:02 -0700
Subject: GET BACK TO ME ASAP
The management of HSBC bank Hong Kong posted me to our branch here in the state at Washington DC to occupy an office due to the new reform and retirement of some old staff. While sorting out some files in the office I get to realize that there are some huge amount of money that has been in our bank for some couple of years and has no ownership. So I contacted you because I want you to claim the fund and I am ready to support you to get all the documents needed. And we will make all documents in your name as the original owner of the fund and after the fund is being released to you, me and you will share the money equal.
I contacted you because me as an insider.it is not possible for me to claim the cash because the management will feel it is because I know everything about the fund that's why I am claiming to be the owner of the fund which is not fair. This is the most reason why I contacted you because this is like a breakthrough for me and you to automatically change life overnight through this wonderful opportunity. I just want you to be honest to me and follow my instructions as I have trust you to share this wonderful opportunity with you and I promise you that your whole entire life will change for good.
The details of the fund will be disclosed to you once you reply.
Be happy because you are not spending any money from your pocket on this project.
Give me a number to call you.
Mr. John David