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:
- "million us dollars" (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)
- ",000,000" (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.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
Fraud email example:
From: "Uk Bello Esq" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 2010 22:03:46 +0100
Subject: URGENT INFORMATION FOR YOU
Good day to you,
I am Uk Bello Esq. a Legal Consultant/Practitioner here in Africa; previously I have sent this notification which you are yet to respond. It may interest you to know that my late client left a WILL behind were you are stated as one of the beneficiaries.
I am contacting you based on the recommendation on my late client last WILL wherein your name is stated as a beneficiary to a bequest of the sum of US$20,000,000.00 (Twenty Million US Dollars) deposited with Chartered Security Company in London as contained in the last testament of the testator.Please note that this claim will be processed there in London under Her Majesty's court to get a Grant of Probate to enable you lay legitimate claim of the funds from Chartered Security Company London.
I await your prompt response.
Uk Bello Esq