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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a "New Partner from Paraguay" scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- 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 (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Sarah Luke" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 13 Mar 2010 04:26:20 +0200
Subject: Contact Barrister Emmanuel Justice
I am happy to inform you about my success in getting those funds transferred under the cooperation of a new partner from South Africa.
Presently I'm in South Africa for investment projects with my own share of the total sum. Meanwhile, I did not forget your past efforts and attempts you made in getting your winnings sent to your delivery address, despite that it failed us somehow.
Now you are to contact my Barrister in Lagos Nigeria. His name is (Barrister Emmanuel Justice) and i have instructed him to issue you a International Bank Draft Check Worth $750,000.00 USD.
Find below his contact information.
Name: Barrister Emmanuel Justice
Ask him to send you the total $750.000.00 (SEVEN HUNDREND AND FIFTY THOUSAND U.S DOLLARS) certified bank Check, which I raised in your favor for your compensation for all the past efforts you have made in receiving your winnings in this matter.
Remember that I had forwarded instruction to the Barrister on your behalf to Receive that money. So feel free to get in touch with him (Barrister Emmanuel Justice) with all your details without any delay.
1. Full Names:...................
2. Residential Address:..........
3. Phone Number:.................
4. Fax Number:...................
6. Sex: .........................
7. Age : ........................
8. Nationality: .................
9. Present Country: .............
COMPENSATION HEAD OFFICER