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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "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 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.
- +22998252241 (Benin, probably a prepaid mobile phone)
Fraud email example:
From: "Office Line" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2008 09:24:57 +0100
Subject: CONTACT APEX BANK NOW FOR YOUR CHEQUE
THE MANAGEMENT OF APEX BANK PLC REPUBLIC OF BENIN, WISHES TO INFORM YOU THAT
WE ARE IN RECEIPT OF OUR DRAFT CHEQUE ISSUED IN YOUR FAVOUR WITH CASH AMOUNT
OF $1.5M USD ONLY,
FROM YOUR AGENT AND HE TOLD US TO CANCELLED THE CHEQUE,BECAUSE YOU DONT WANT
TO RECEIVE IT,SO YOU ARE ADVISED TO CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY AND TELL US WHAT
IS GOING ON.
YOU CAN CONTACT OUR MANAGER DR. GERORGE NWA ON THIS WEB ADDRES(
firstname.lastname@example.org) BEFORE WE CAN TAKE ANY ACTION. WE ARE WAITING FOR
YOUR URGENT REPLY AS SOON AS YOU RECEIVE THIS E-MAIL THANKS FOR YOUR
MR MIKE UBAMADI
CONTACT OUR MANAGER DR. GERORGE NWA