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:
- "greater london" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "here in united kingdom" (this email uses bad English)
- "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 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "PepsiCo" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 2010 15:46:35 -0800
Subject: PepsiCo Company Online Promo
Baley House, Har Road
Sutton, Greater London
SM1 4te United Kingdom
Date: 16th Feb 2010
I am Mr. Steve McDaniel Online Director Pepsi Cola Company here in the United Kingdom, I wish to bring to your notice that the Pepsi Cola Company here in the United Kingdom have awarded you with the Sum of Five Hundred Thousand British Pounds Sterlings based on the Promo that was held here in United Kingdom. An email selection was done on the 14th Feb 2010 and Ten Winners where awarded with the Sum of Five Hundred Thousand British Pounds Sterlings.
You are required as a matter of urgency to contact our Paying Agent immediately for further details in regards to this Winning notice and furnish them with the following details:
Mode of Payment preferred: 1. Certified Cheque 2. Wire Transfer
Direct Phone/Cell Number
Your Full Name
Contact our Agent below:
office: Pepsi Company UK
Contact Name: John Lewis
Position: Agent officer
Contact Email: email@example.com
You are required to comply with their given directives.
Be rest assured.
Mr. Steve McDaniel
Online Director (Pepsi Cola Company UK)