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!
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:
",500,000" (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)
This email message is a fake lottery scam. Consider the following facts about real lotteries:
They don't notify winners by email.
You can't win without first buying a lottery ticket.
They don't randomly select email addresses to award prizes to.
They don't use free email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) to communicate with you.
They don't tell you to call a mobile phone number.
They don't tell you to keep your winnings secret.
They will never ask a winner to pay any fees to receive a prize!
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.
+447005930923 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
+447024050167 (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.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Rediffmail, India; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "James Bill" <email@example.com> Reply-To: "James Bill" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2011 22:49:42 +0100 Subject: Very Important
You are randomly selected as one of the lucky winners of 2011 Nokia Cash
Splash-Data base Promo and we are using this medium to officially notify you
that the result of the promo was recently released as shown below:
We are happy to inform you that you
won the total sum of 1000,000.00 GBP (One Million Great British Pounds)
at this promo. Your ticket number is BNK04022818T. Please take note of
your ticket number as it will be needed for verification.
For your cash prize payment, simply fax the following information to our
Payment Verification Department @ +44 700-593-0923or call our correspondent payment bank HSBC BANKUnited Kingdom through +44
(702)408-3799 for confirmation of your payment.
1. Your Full names 2. Residential/Office addresses 3. Phone number 4. Fax number 5.Email address 6. Occupation
7. Ticket number,
Bear it in mind that you won big in this promo because you are one of our
valuable customers. However, if you wish to decline the receipt of your prize
money, you are to notify us on time so that the opportunity will be given to
another Nokia phone user.
WARNING: Confidentiality should be accorded at all times. You are
advised to keep your winning Ticket NumberBNK04022818T to yourself
until you have received your cash prize. This is to avoid false claims and
abuse of the program. Nokia Corporation will never ask you to pay any fee
before you receive your prize money.
Coordinator, Nokia Splash Promo