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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "million british 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)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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.
- +447024034931 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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: Mother Joy Erich <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2011 05:26:30 -0500
Subject: 5.8million pounds for you
I am sure this mail would be coming to you as a surprise since we have
never met before and you would also be asking why I have decided to
chose you amongst the numerous internet users in the world, precisely
I cannot say why I have chosen you but do not be worried for I come in
peace and something very positive is about to happen to your life
right now and to the lives of others through you if only you can
carefully read and digest the message below. The internet has made the
world global villages where you can reach anybody you have not met
Before I move further, permit me to give you a little of my biography,
I am Mother joy Erich, 87 Years old woman and the wife of Late Sir
Burckhard Erich who died in a Plane crash on Monday the 7th of
September 1998 GMT 14:22 UK while they were flying from New York to
Geneva. Please see site below for more information.
After the death of my husband I became the Head of his investment and
now that I am old and weak I have decided to spend the rest of my life
with my family and loved ones whom I never had time for during the
course of my business life, but before the death of my husband we had
a plan to use the last days of our lives to donate half of what we
have worked for to the less privilege and charity homes and the other
half for ourselves, family members and close friends, and it is so
unfortunate that my husband is not alive today to do this with me and
I am very weak and old now, hence I have decided to do this
philanthropic work on behalf of my late husband and I.
Presently, I have willed out almost half of our assets to several
charity homes and to some of the less privilege in different
countries. Despite the agreement between my late husband and I to give
aid to the deprived, we also agreed to render support to an individual
we have not meet before in life due to the fact when we were still
young in life we receive an anonymous help from an individual we did
not know and which we have not being able to know till date, the
impact we got from such gesture made us to do same.
I am sorry to inform you that you will never have the chance to know
me because I have just concluded the assignment which my husband and I
have agreed upon before his sudden death and you happened to be the
beneficiary of our last WILL, irrespective of your previous financial
status, hence I need you to do me a favor by accepting our offer that
will cost you nothing.
I have presently deposited a Cheque in the sum of 5.8million British
Pounds with Ulster Bank of United Kingdom to be transferred to you,
All you have to Do Now, is to contact the ULSTER BANK OF UNITED
KINGDOM immediately for an urgent Transfer of your fund to you, please
HERE IS THE CONTACT INFORMATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL FUND TRANSFER
Contact person: Mr. Matin West
Customer Service, +447024034931
You are to reconfirm the below information to them to avoid any
mistake on the Transfer
Direct telephone number;