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 united state 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)
- "waiting for your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "await your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "urgent assistance" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a next of kin 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.
- +447024014507 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "DR FRED GODWIN" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2010 15:42:48 -0800
Subject: AUDITOR DIRECTOR OF NATWEST BANK LONDON
NatWest (National Westminster Bank)
Lothbury London EC2P2BP United Kingdom
I know that this mail shall come to you as a surprise, I am auditor director with The NATWEST BANK LONDON , I Hoped that you will Not Expose or Betray this trust And confident that i am about to repose on you for the Mutual benefit of our Both families. I need your urgent assistance in transferring sum of ($6.5 Million United state dollars) Immediately to your account.The money has been dormant for years in our Bank Here with out any body coming for it and I want to the bank to release The money to you as the nearest person to our deceased Customer(the owner Of the account)who died a long with his supposed next of Kin in an air crash Since July 2000.
I don't,want the money to go into our Bank treasury as an abandoned fund. So This is the reason why i contacted you, so that the bank can release this funds To you as the nearest person to the deceased customer and Please I would like you to keep this proposal as a top secret and delete if You are not interested.
Upon receipt of your reply, I shall send you full details on how the business shall Be executed and also note that you will have 40% of the above mentioned Sum If you agree to transact the business with me and I am waiting for your urgent Response so that we can start immediately, I REQUIRE THE FOLLOWING FROM YOU, YOUR FULL CONTACT ADDRESS, YOUR DIRECT TELEPHONE NUMBER,YOUR BANKING INFORMATION,AND ANY MEANS OF IDENTIFICATION
I await your urgent response to this email
Mr. Fred GODWIN