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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
Fraud email example:
From: "Ben Clifford ESQ" <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 28 Nov 2017 09:52:58 -0800
Do you require extra funding for your business or funds to start a new project?
I am a lawyer and financial adviser, and part of our brief is to provide discreet financial services to high net worth clients with private investment and cash deposits in private accounts with offshore banks in tax heavens.
I represent unique clients, and under special circumstances will make available funds, for direct investment in an ongoing business or seed funds for a new one.
Interest rates are very friendly and negotiable depending on expected returns on investment.
If you are interested in exploring this opportunity, processing time is less than 3 weeks. Reply to EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Barr Ben Clifford ESQ