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:
- ",500,000" (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 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.
- +447024071708 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "HM Treasury" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 4 Feb 2010 08:16:29 -0800
Subject: Payment Transfer Notification of GBP3, 500.000.00 Pounds
Payment Transfer Notification of GBP3, 500.000.00 Pounds
The treasury directorate division of the UK Financial Monetary Service Authority writes to inform you that we have credit advice documentary evidence in your favor to authorize the release of GBP3,500,000.00(Three Million Five hundred Thousand Pounds Only) to you being an outstanding payment accrued interest on your contract/inheritance payment. As the only authorized officer saddle with the responsibility of making sure you get and confirm the transaction, you are hereby advised to carefully confirm to us your receiving banking details for verification, so that upon clearance confirmation of your details, we shall direct the paying institution in London to immediately release and remit your payment without any further delay .
As soon as we receive and confirm this information, your credit advice confirmation evidence will be sent to our paying institution for the immediate release of the fund to your nominated account. Await your response.
Chief Frank Williams
Chief Executive Officer
HM Treasury London
1 Horse guards Road, London
SW1A 2HQ; London UK
Office Tel: 447024071708.
Direct all reply to: email@example.com