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:
- "please indicate your interest" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- 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.
- +447024076433 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Henry McCallion"<email@example.com> (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 11 May 2011 13:44:21 -0700
Subject: Second Noticeb!!
I understand that through Internet is not the best way to link up with you because of the confidentiality which my proposal demands.
However, I have already sent you this same letter one month ago,but I am not sure if it did get to you since I have not heard from you, hence i am constrain to reach you through the Internet which has been abused over the years.
I wish to notify you again that You were listed as a Heir to the total sum of (Five Million Six Hundred Thousand British Pounds) in the codicil and last testament of the deceased.(Name now withheld since this is our second letter to you). We contacted you because you bear the surname identity and therefore can present you as the Heir to the inheritance funds.
Please indicate your interest immediately for us to proceed. I shall feed you with full details of this transaction upon receipt of your reply towards this proposal.
All the legal papers will be processed in your acceptance. In your acceptance of this deal, we request that you kindly forward to us your letter of acceptance; your current telephone and fax numbers and a forwarding address to enable us file necessary documents at our high court probate division for the release of this sum of money.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Mr. Henry McCallion