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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "please indicate your willingness" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million 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)
- "here in united kingdom" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
- +447031822596 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr David Wilson"<email@example.com> (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 2010 16:06:24 +0800
Subject: GOOD DAY YOUR REPLY IS HIGHLY NEEDED
I assume that this message will reach you in good health. However, it's just my urgent need for foreign partner that made me to contact you for this transaction. I assured you honesty and reliability to champion this business opportunity.
I'm Wilson Thanks, Iím the foreign operation manager of one of the leading banks here in United Kingdom. I have the opportunity of transferring the left over funds what of (4.7 Million Pounds) from the account of one of our bank's customer who died along with his entire family in a plane crash.
I am inviting you for this business where the money will be shared between us in the ratio of 50/50, on the acceptance of my proposal, Further details of the transfer will be forwarded to you as soon as i receive your return mail immediately as soon as you receive this letter.
Please indicate your willingness by providing the below information for easy communication.
Copy of ID:.............
Mr David Wilson