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:
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "certified bank draft" (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 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: "REV,DR.JOHN H.WILLIAMS" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2015 11:37:49 -0800
Subject: VIEW THE ATTACHED FILE YOUR BANK DRAFT SCAN COPY.
I AM REV,DR.JOHN H.WILLIAMS,THE AUDITOR GENERAL OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF
NIGERIA AND I WISH TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE RECEIVED THE SCAN COPY OF YOUR
CERTIFIED BANK DRAFT IN THE AMOUNT OF $10,5MUSD WHICH I SENT TO YOUR EMAIL
ADDRESS YESTERDAY AND THIS APPROVED DRAFT INCLUDES YOUR FUND INTEREST
AMOUNT FOR THIS YEARS AWAITING,SO CALL ME NOW TO CONFIRM IT
NOTE THAT WE ARE PAYING YOU THROUGH OUR OIL RESERVE BANK ACCOUNT WITH THE
JP MORGAN CHASE BANK NEW YORK,USA AND THEY WILL CREDIT YOUR FUND ONCE YOU
HAVE THE ORIGINAL CERTIFIED BANK DRAFT HARD COPY AND DEPOSIT IT TO ANY
BANK OF YOUR CHOICE IN THE WORLD.
YOU ARE HEREBY ADVICE TO TAKE THE SCAN COPY OF YOUR CERTIFIED BANK DRAFT
TO YOUR LOCAL BANK AND CONFIRM IT BEFORE WE CAN SEND YOU THE ORIGINAL HARD
COPY OR YOU CAN COME DOWN FOR THE COLLECTION HERE OKAY.
I AWAIT TO HEAR FROM YOU SOONEST.