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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million british pounds" (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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Fred Anderson" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2010 23:34:28 +0800
Subject: Re: Your Joint Partnership is Needed ASAP!!!
P O Box 10720
London WC2R 1AP
Re: My Request for Your Joint Partnership
I have a very important request that make me to contact you; I am Fred Anderson I solicit your assistance and Guidelines in making a business investment and wire transfer of sum £15.5Million British Pounds, to your country within the Next few days. All conformable legal documents to back this payment in your name genuinely as the beneficiary will be secured and copies will be sent to you for your own view and records keeping, before the funds is reach your bank account.
I work as a Chief Financial Officer and Manager, and am in charge with all Offshore Mortgage & Services of our overseas brokers/investors with Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, London. But at This moment, I am constrained to issue more details about this profitable Business Investment until I get your positive response by reply email. There is no risk involved in this transaction. Meanwhile, I have worked out the modalities and technicalities whereby the funds can be claimed by any foreigner beneficiary outside London, who have the complete details of the said fund without any hitches. Our sharing ratio will be 50% for me and 50% for you equally. If you are interested, send your email response and your direct mobile Telephone number through my private email ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) so we could discuss more on phone as regards to this transaction for further details to be given to you. I wish for your utmost confidentiality in handling this transaction
Note: I will split the transfer in two 2 installments for easy and smooth wire transfer of the funds to your bank, without problems from any authorities.
Awaiting your kind email reply soon for further details. Thanks.
Mr. Fred Anderson
Chief Financial Officer and Manager
Royal Bank of Scotland, London.