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)
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "the diplomat " ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "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 "New Partner from Paraguay" scam.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Rose George" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 6 Sep 2010 17:31:42 +0700
Subject: compensation check is ready
How are you today? Hope all is well with you and your family? I hope this mail meets you in a perfect condition.
I am using this opportunity to thank you for your great effort to our unfinished transfer of fund into your
account due to one reason or the other best known to you. But I want to inform you that I have successfully
transferred the fund out of my bank to someone else account who was capable of assisting me in this great venture
through the help of the diplomat i told you about.Due to your effort, sincerity,courage and trustworthiness' you
showed at the course of the transaction I want to compensate you and show my gratitude to you with the sum of
I have authorized my new lawyer who is now also my legal adviser to issue you international certified bank cheque
cashable at your bank.My dear friend I will like you to contact the lawyer for the collection of this international
certified bank cheque.
The name and contact address of the lawyer is as follows.
Mr: Richard Morgan( Lawyer)
E-mail : email@example.com
Address: Bangkok, Thailand.
Tel #: +66 84 356 5633
Fax #: +66 86 635 2753
At the moment, I'm very busy here because of the investment projects which I and my new partner are having at hand
in Paris France. Finally, remember that I have forwarded instruction to the Lawyer on your behalf to send the bank
cheque to you as soon as you contact him without delay.
Please I will like you to accept this token with good faith as this is from the bottom of my heart. Thanks and God
bless you and your family. Hope to hear from you soon.
Mrs. Rose George