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 pounds" (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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
- +447024084948 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: BBC FINANCE DEPARTMENT <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: BBC FINANCE DEPARTMENT <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 29 Aug 2011 16:03:46 -0300 (BRT)
Subject: PAYMENT NOTIFICATION
WE WANT TO INFORM YOU THAT YOUR FUNDS OF £18,000,000.00 (EIGHTEEN MILLION POUNDS STERLING) HAVE BEEN SENT TO YOU ALREADY BY THE BBC FINANCE DEPARTMENT UK SO THAT YOU CAN COLLECT YOUR FUNDS IN YOUR COUNTRY WITHIN THE NEXT 72HRS.
YOUR REFERENCE NO OR ACCOUNT ID: 9865475208 THAT YOU WILL USE TO COLLECT YOUR FUNDS IN YOUR COUNTRY. WE NEED TO CONFIRM YOUR INFORMATION BELOW:
WE NEED YOUR ABOVE INFORMATION SO THAT WE CAN BE ABLE TO SEND YOUR INFORMATION TO YOU TO COLLECT YOUR FUNDS IN YOUR COUNTRY,YOU WILL CONTACT THE BBC FINANCE DEPARTMENT UK THROUGH OUR EMAIL ADDRESS:(firstname.lastname@example.org).
WE NEED YOUR URGENT REPLY TO RECEIVE YOUR FUNDS TODAY.
DR HELEN COLE
BBC FINANCE DEPARTMENT
0845 838 1815 (UK Local Rate)
+44 7024084948(From Outside UK)