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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "million us 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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a "New Partner from Paraguay" scam.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- +22993992575 (Benin, probably a prepaid mobile phone)
Fraud email example:
Date: Sat, 04 Oct 2008 22:52:58 +0200
Subject: Dearest Friend,
I am very happy to inform you about my success in
getting that fund transferred. Now I want you to contact my secretary on
his email address below and receive your compensation of $1,2 MILLION US
DOLLARS from him:
NAME: Mr Chinonso Ijeoma.
PHONE: +229 9399
EMAIL: ( email@example.com )
Kindly reconfirm to him the
following below information:
Note that if you did not send him the
above information complete, he will not release the cheque to you
because he has to be sure that it is you. Ask him to send you the total
sum of ($1.200,000.00 )USD CASHIER\'S CHEQUE ,which I kept for you. Note
also that I will not be reached by email or phone for now because I am
currently away in Japan for investment purpose with my share and I will
be busy till about six months time or a year.