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)
- "chief auditor" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- 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: "BENSON THOMAS"<email@example.com> (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2011 23:07:18 +0800
FROM THE DESK OF CHIEF AUDITOR
INTERNATIONAL AUDITING DEPARTMENT
OFFSHORE CREDIT COMMISSION
EMAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org
RE: YOUR OUTSTANDING REMITTANCE AMOUNT DISCOVERED
I AM WRITING TO YOU IN A TOP CONFIDENTIAL LEVEL AS I MADE AN ASTONISHING DISCOVERY DURING THE COURSE OF MY AUDITING FOR THE JUST CONCLUDED FISCAL YEAR.
A WHOPPING SUM THAT RUNS INTO MILLIONS OF UNITED STATES DOLLARS WAS UNCOVERED BY ME WITH YOUR NAME AS THE MAIN BENEFICIARY. THIS FUND WAS ORIGINALLY TRANSFERRED TO THIS OFFICE BY YOUR PARTNERS AFTER WHICH THE OPTED FOR PAYMENT IN A DIFFERENT LOCATION. UNFORTUNATELY THE FUND WAS RETURNED HERE IN OUR OFFICE AS THE SAFEST VENUE FOR DISBURSEMENT. EVER SINCE THEN NOBODY HAS COME FOR THE CLAIM.
ALTHOUGH YOU HAVE BEEN MAKING SERIES OF SEPARATE FRUITLESS ARRANGEMENT TO HAVE THIS PAYMENT RECEIVED FROM ELSEWHERE BUT THE WHOLE TRUTH IS THAT YOUR FUND HAS BEEN LYING HERE WAITING FOR IMMEDIATE PAYMENT.
NOTE THAT IF YOU KEEP ON DEALING WITH THOSE PEOPLE IN DIFFERENT LOCATIONS, THEY WILL NOT SUCCEED IN FINALIZING YOUR PAYMENT HENCE YOUR FUND IS LYING HERE UNCLAIMED AND THIS THEY WILL NOT TELL AS THEY ARE INTERESTED IN EXTORTION.
CONSEQUENTLY, I WISH TO ASSIST YOU TO RELEASE THIS FUND ONLY IF YOU ARE WILLING TO PLAY ALONG WITH ME AND MAINTAIN A HIGH LEVEL OF CONFIDENTIALITY AS MY OFFICE IS AT STAKE IF ANYONE SHOULD KNOW OF MY INVOLVEMENT TO ASSIST YOU.
FURTHERMORE, I SHALL BE REQUESTING FOR JUST 5% OF YOUR TOTAL PAYMENT VALUE WHICH SHALL BE GIVEN TO ME ONCE YOUR PAYMENT IS FINALIZED AND YOU RECEIVE IT IN YOUR PREFERRED BANK ACCOUNT.
ONLY THEN I SHALL SEND MY BANK DETAILS FOR MY OWN SHARE ACCORDINGLY.
IT IS IMPORTANT YOU REALIZE THAT I AM IN THE POSITION TO MAKE USE OF MY AUTHORITY HERE TO GET THIS REMITTANCE FINALIZED WITHIN 48HRS, ONCE MY REQUEST HAS BEEN ACCEPTED AND I HAVE YOUR WRITTEN ASSURANCE AS TO THIS REGARDS.
IF THIS IS ACCEPTABLE TO YOU, PLEASE GET BACK TO ME WITH THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION TO ENABLE URGENT CONCLUSION.
1) CONFIRMATION OF YOUR ASSURANCE OF 5% TO ME THEREAFTER.
2) CONFIRMATION THAT THE FUND BELONGS TO YOU.
3) YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBERS
UPON THE RECEIPT OF THE ABOVE I SHALL IMMEDIATELY COMMENCE ON THE TRANSFER FORMAILITIES.
AWAITING YOUR URGENT COOPERATION AS I AM INTERESTED IN AN URGENT CONCLUSION OF THIS ISSUE.