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:
- "million dollars" (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.
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Tamara Kalfman" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 24 Dec 2018 07:19:17 -0800
Subject: Re: Our Mutual Benefit...
I pray that the content of this email is not misconstrued, despite that the internet world has been invaded and taken over by dishonest people who are nothing but scammers. Please I discourage you from being tempted to overlook or outright discard this email content because this is a different case. Which I assure will be of mutual benefit. Simply put, I have no fraudulent intentions, but that the essence of this message is strictly for our mutual benefit and nothing more. But I rather dwell more at this first contact on the issue of trust, honesty, reliability expected of each us and your capability to handle it at your end without compromising on confidentiality.
However, I would remain wary and cautious until I get an affirmation of your understanding of mail content and its importance or absolutely that convinced you are ready to collaborate with me. I am therefore holding back specifics for security reasons until your response is received. I need an your assurance that never will you share or go public with message content.
I do assure you that we both stand to gain enormously from the expected collaboration in this uncommon transaction of this nature. All I can say for now is that I am a serving soldier in the U.S. Army who has had 6 years duty tour of Iraq and redeployed to Afghanistan after the end of the Iraq war. I am currently serving in Afghanistan and I want to ship 3 boxes containing (14million dollars) to you which are expected to remain entrusted to you for keeps until I come over to join you.
Surprised and skeptical about a mail from someone relatively unknown to you? Not to worry too much. Meantime, I urge you to ensure a visit/view these 2 news websites which gives historical background and insight as well as the source of funds in question which has been of public knowledge since during the Iraq war.
(a) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2988455.stm (BBC News)
(b) http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/04/25/60II/main690763.shtml (CBS News)
I will be vivid and very explicit in my next message should you agree to collaborate with me. Before my next email, it will be appreciated if you advance your interest by doing the following :
1. Confirm that the 2 international news links above have been visited/viewed.
2. Confirm your understanding of my intention to send the funds to you.
3. Give a word of promise to let it remain a secret between us.
4. Provide me with the following information : (your complete names, complete contact address, phone number(s), your age and your profession/occupation)
Once again I plead that you do not share this proposal in mutual collaboration with no one.
Please send your response to my PRIVATE & SECURE email address: (firstname.lastname@example.org)