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)
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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. )
- "certified bank draft" (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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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: "Mrs.Jennifer Campbell" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 9 Jan 2010 10:40:56 -0500
Subject: Compliment of the season!!!!!
I am using this opportunity to thank you for your effort to our unfinished transfer of fund into your account,You may not understand why this mail came to you. But if you do not remember me, you might have received an email from me in the past regarding a multi-million-dollar business proposal which we never concluded. I want to inform you that I have successfully transferred the Cheque out of the company to someone else who was capable of assisting me in this great venture. Due to your effort, sincerity, courage and trustworthiness you showed during the course of the transaction I want to compensate you and show my gratitude to you with the sum of $900,000.00. I have left an international certified bank draft for you worth about $900,000.00 cashable anywhere in the world. My dear friend, I will like you to contact my lawyer Rev. Edwin Thompson for the collection of this international certified bank draft. I have authorized him to release the international certi!
fied bank draft to you as soon as
COMPENSATION HEAD OFFICE CONTACT AGENT
CONTACT: Mr,Jacson Cole
Office Contact Number: +2347081366365
At the moment, I am very busy here because of the investment projects I am having at hand. Finally,I have forwarded instruction to the finance house on your behalf to send the bank draft to you as soon as you contact them.
Mrs. Jennifer Campbell
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