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)
- "% commission" (Beware of any scheme that involves depositing checks or money orders or receiving wire transfers in your bank account and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere, for a percentage of 5-15% of the total. Such offers are *always* fraudulent and you will be liable for the entire amount when the checks, money orders or wire transfers turn out to be fraudulent. Any money already forwarded comes out of *your* pocket then. )
- 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: "Mr. Williams." (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2019 19:26:52 -0800
Subject: I write to you based on a request by an investor
I write to you based on a request by an investor and his need for investment/funding in your country. My name is Mr Williams a financial consultant, I work with a reputable financial services firm.
My company most times represents the interests of very wealthy investors. Due to the sensitivity of the position they hold in their society and the unstable investment environment of their country, they evacuate majority of their funds into more stable
economies and developed nations where they can get good yield for their money.
I was recently approached by a Reserved Client, whom I had personally worked with a few years ago with a proposal. He requested an individual such as yourself, who will be willing to receive money on his behalf abroad, and put it to good use for a period not exceeding 6 years for a start.
The client has offered these terms:
1. 10% commission paid to me and my foreign partner of the total funds successfully evacuated. The funds in question is $38.7M USD.
2. The funds will be used by the foreign partner for six years as a loan without any interest. That is, you do not pay any interest on the money but you give the client 50% of all profits after tax that accrued from the use of the funds.
If these terms are agreeable to you, kindly let me know and I will provide you with all necessary information and procedures involved.also send to me your telephone numbers/Mobile number for easy communication through this email (firstname.lastname@example.org)