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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million united states 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Sgt Brian Joseph" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 1 Jan 2019 04:19:37 -0800
Subject: READ CAREFULLY AND RESPOND!!!
My name is (Sgt) Brian Joseph, I'm an American soldier serving in the military with the Armys 3rd Infantry division Iraq but now redeployed to Afghanistan. I have a very desperate need for assistance and have summed up courage to contact you. I found your contact particulars in an address journal and Im seeking your kind assistance to move the sum of Eight Million United States Dollars (US$8M) to you in the United States as far as I can be assured that my share will be safe in your care until I complete my service here.
SOURCE OF MONEY:
Some money in various currencies were discovered in barrels at a farmhouse near Saddams old palaces in Tikrit-Iraq during a rescue operation, and it was agreed by Staff Sgt Kenneth Buff and I that some part of this money be shared between both of us before informing anybody about it since both of us saw the money first. This does not sound right to do but I tell you what! No compensation can make up for the risk we have taken with our lives in this hell hole, of which my brother in-law was killed by a road side bomb last time.
The above figure was given to me as my share, and to conceal this kind of money became a problem for me but with the help of a British contact working here and with his office enjoying 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 content of the package as he believes that it belongs to a British/American Medical doctor who died in a raid in Iraq, and before giving up, trusted me to hand over the package to his family in united States.
I have now found a very secured way of getting the package to you at home for you to pick up, and I will discuss this with you when I m sure that you are willing to assist me and that the money will be well secured in your hands. I feel this is the right time to send this money home
I want you to tell me how much you will take from this money for the assistance you will give to me. One passionate appeal I will make to you is not to discuss this matter with anybody. Should you have reasons to reject this offer, please and please, I beg you to destroy this message as any leakage of this information will be too bad for the US soldiers here.
I do not know how long we will remain in this war, as each day looks horrifying with deadly operation and battle against die hard militants and terrorists. Totally, we lost well over 4,500 men so far and I have survived two suicide bomb attacks and other forms of attack by the special grace of God. This and other reasons I will mention later has prompted me to reach out for help.
I honestly want this matter to be resolved immediately. Please contact me as soon as possible via email which is my only way of
communication. May God bless you
Sgt Brian Joseph