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:
- "cost of transfer" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "into your nominated bank account" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: =?iso-8859-1?Q?=22Obama's_Foundation=A9=22?= <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 2010 21:55:35 -0400
Subject: Scam Victims Compensation Payment Award !
Greetings to you,
On behalf of the Obama's Foundation, we wish to notify you
as a beneficiary of $500,000.00 USD in compensation of scam
victims.Do contact HSBC INTERNATIONAL BANK, United Kingdom
Branch for verification and release of your $500,000.00 USD
that we have deposited with the HSBC BANK,UK.
The account log on will be presented to you by the bank in
order to access the funds before releasing into your nominated
bank account. You will transfer the funds into your nominated
account on-line as the HSBC BANK,UK will provide the necessary
information to you. We have taken care of the cost of transfer
(C.O.T) and the VAT.Please if you are willing to accept the
funds, do contact the Managing Director of the HSBC BANK,UK
with the following details:
You are to fill the appropriate form and submit to the bank.
 Full Names:________________
 Contact address______________________________
 Direct Telephone No: ___________________
|4| Occupation : ____________________________
Managing Director of the HSBC BANK,UK
Name: Mrs. Joan Cole
Private Email: email@example.com