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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "money laundering" ("anti-terrorist", "anti-money laundering" or "drug-free" certificates are a common way for criminals in fake lottery scams and other Advance Fee scams to get you to send money to them. There are no such certificates in the real banking world. )
- "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)
- "await your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "monrovia" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "liberia" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "EGO" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 3 Aug 2011 22:30:56 +0100
Subject: GET BACK TO ME???-----
1441 Sansom St
Philadelphia, PA 19102
REF: ONE HUDREND AND FIFTY MILLION UNITED STATE DOLLARS, ($150,MILLION.)
I am an Attorney Sam Ego based in Monrovia here the capital of
Liberia.This fund belongs to one of my clients, an ex-President of my
Country Mr.Charles Taylor. He asked me to get a reliable some One to help
him invest this fund over there in your Country,
These said funds investment amount $150musd is been assigned by Mr.President
Charles Taylor for investment allocation we have a lot of money to invest
wisely under your care.10% of the total sum has been assigned as per your
share.I Shall visit you with the wife of the president to your country for
the investment. once the funds hits into your account for the onward
investment. Kindly get back to me with the following information s of yours
to enable me start the
1. Your Full name & Age:-----
Occupation & Position:--------
Above all, I wish to assure you that the funds in question is not an act of
Terrorist Funding, neither Money Laundering nor Drug-funding. Thus, the
transfer will follow the normal protocol of funds transfer, backed up with
its papers so that you will not encounter any difficulties/problem with
your Federal Monetary Control authorities. I await your urgent response.
Thanks and God bless
Barrister SAM EGO