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:
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2019 05:26:38 -0400
I am aware that the content of this letter will come to you as a surprise as we havenât had the privilege of any prior business acquaintance. Nevertheless, I have contacted you with a clear purpose to establish a rewarding and enduring business relationship. I therefore, look forward to your implicit understanding; trust in all information that will be made available for your consideration.
My name is Paul Chan, and I work as Head of Wealth & Fund Management ping An Bank in Hong Kong. Am sorry to have contacted you like this but I have a business for you that will benefit both of us. I am getting in touch with you regarding the estate of a deceased client with similar last name and an investment placed under our bank management. I would respectfully request that you keep the contents of this mail confidential and respect the integrity of the information you come by as a result of this mail. I contact you independently and no one is informed of this communication to your email. Please allow me give you a brief picture of what I have in mind by replying to this email.