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.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "BRAD LAWSON" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2012 13:00:54 -0000
Subject: URGENT REPLY
My name is Brad Lawson. I am secretary to an independent external auditor for the World Bank handling
the Foreign Banks Debt Management Offices in Europe, Asia and America. I have in front of me an
abandoned authorised transfer/payment file containing your details. The file shows that you have correctly
made an application to have this fund released to you.
It is also clearly noted on the file that the beneficiary could not handle the financial commitment required of
him and from our Investigations; your payment process was misappropriated. Due to this, the funds were
pegged and abandoned. The WB is closing its payment window next month and any pending payment and
its beneficiary claim would have to be till April. It is against this back drop that I have been instructed to
reach you so that your payment can be released on time. The good news is, as the secretary to the
international independent external auditor I think it is very absurd to abandon ones funds for this simple
reason. These funds are ready to be processed and transferred to you within the next 24-48hrs.
Upon your response to this email reconfirming your contact details, I shall give you further directives.
Mr Brad Lawson
Tell ; +447514156926
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org