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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",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)
- "my names are " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a "dying merchant" 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.
- +447035999099 (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: "Thomas Leez" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 1 Apr 2013 10:44:34 +0200
Subject: READ AND GET BACK TO ME ASAP
Dear Friend ,
My names are Thomas leez, I am from Singapore. Please take this serious,I found out that you may be capable of handling this due to your profile.
I am taking this liberty anchored on strong desire to ask for your assistance for help. Your consent and urgent attention will greatly be needed, devoid of apprehensions. I have been diagnosed with Esophageal cancer. It has defied all forms of medical treatment, and right now I have only about a few months to live, according to medical experts here in London.
I have not particularly lived my life so well, as I never really cared for anyone (not even myself) but my business. Though I am very rich, I was never generous, I was always hostile to people and only focused on my business as that was the only thing I cared for.
But now I regret all this as I now know that there is more to life than just wanting to have or make all the money in the world. Now that i have been diagnosed with this deadly disease I have willed and given most of my property and assets to my immediate and extended family members as well as few close friends, i lost my wife and son in a fatal accident a few years ago I have decided to give alms to charity organizations,as I want this to be one of the last good deeds I do on earth.
So far, I have distributed money to some charity organizations in the U.A.E, Somalia and Malaysia. Now that my health has deteriorated so badly, I can not do this myself anymore. I once asked members of my family to close one of my accounts and distribute the money, which I have there to charity organization in Bulgaria and Haiti, they refused and kept the money to themselves.
Hence, I do not trust them anymore, as they seem not to be contended with what I have left for them. The last of my money, which no one knows of, is the huge cash deposit of Three Million Euro ( 3,000,000.00) that I have with BOA Bank Benin.I will want you to help me collect this deposit and dispatch it to charity organizations.I,am willing to offer you a reward If you are willing to help.
please when replying indicate Your full name email, cell phone number so that correspond with you and give you details on how the funds
will be transferred to you. I will also instruct BOA Bank Benin to correspond with you as regards to the beneficial right.
My private Email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Princess Grace Hospital
42-52 Nottingham Place
London, W1U 5NY