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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- "million united states 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)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "AFDB BANK PLC." <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2011 07:36:00 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Your Payment Notification!!!
AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK GROUP
From the Desk of Dr. Donald Kaberuka.
African Development Bank Group.
I am Donald Kaberuka, the President, African Development Bank. This is to bring to your notice that my office has taking over all the money transaction originated from any part of Africa and Europe countries as contract payment, Fund Inheritance or Lottery Winning due to Unauthorized/incapability of financial Institutions/security companies in releasing such huge sum of money due to Fraud, terrorist and money Laundry activities going on world wide. The World Bank Group has Mandated the African Development Bank (ADB) via my Office to release funds to beneficiaries through a means preferable by them, Hence Your E-mail/Name appears as one of The fund beneficiaries whom their fund was successfully cleared for payment.
Your money will be released to you through a means preferable by you either by (1) Bank to Bank Wire transfer (2) Online banking system (3) Payment through Delivery of ATM CARD, to avoid paying excess charges. You are therefore advised to re-confirm your direct telephone numbers, Your complete name and your address to us for immediate release of this money, Most importantly be aware that (Five Million United States Dollars Only (US$ 5, 000, 000.00) was allocated to you as the approved
amount due to you.
Be also informed that all the documents regarding this approval and authorisation has been issued. Therefore be aware that your funds has obtained all her clearance to be released to you.
For a quick follow-up, reply to my private e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Donald Kaberuka.
African Development Group.