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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "million british pounds" (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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- 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: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 06:45:57 -0400
Subject: Re: Viable Investments.
I am Mr. Stephen Webster Head of Operations, Bank of Scotland, New Uberior House,11 Earl Grey Street Edinburgh EH3 9BN. I am in search of an agent to assist us in the transfer of £5,000,000.00 GBP (Five Million British pounds) and subsequent investment in properties in your country.
You will be required to:-
(1) Assist in the transfer of the said sum.
(2) Advise on lucrative areas for investment.
(3) Assist us in purchase of properties.
If you are willing to assist us in the transaction, your share of the sum will be 40% of the £5,000,000.00 GBP, 60% for us. I will be pleased as soon as you indicate your interest by including your confidential phone and fax numbers in your positive response, this will enable us furnish you with further information on the procedures and modalities on how funds will be transferred or made available to you.
I await your immediate response via my personal email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Mr. Stephen Webster
Head of Operations.
Bank of Scotland, UK
New Uberior House,
11 Earl Grey Street Edinburgh