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)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: DR MICHEAL WHITE <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 4 Jan 2010 07:26:24 -0800 (PST)
Subject: CONTACT MY SECRETARY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
My Dear friend, How are you today, i am very happy to inform you about my success in getting those funds transfered with the help of the Pan-Africa Mortgage & Finance,Meanwhile, I didn't forget your Past efforts in helping me that time,Now i want you to contact my secretary on his contact information below. Name Mr.Jason Duke,E-mail:(email@example.com) PhoneNumber:+229 96-38-99-70.Ask him to send you Cashier's Cheque for your compensation sum of ($1.5) One Million Five H undred Thousand US Dolalrs which I kept for you as compensation for your effort. contact him immediately you receive this mail,please do not forget to send to him:name:Contact Address:Cell Phone Number: And do let me know as soon as you have received the Cashier's Cheque .Regards, Dr,Michael White