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 payment is being processed" (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)
- "to your nominated bank account" (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)
- "hundred thousand united states dollars" (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)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: INTERNATIONAL OPERATION DEPT <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Jun 2009 08:05:57 +0800
Subject: DEAR BENEFICIARY
INTERNATIONAL OPERATION DEPT.
VERIFICATION OF YOUR PAYMENT/WINNINGS FILE.
THIS IS TO INFORM YOU THAT FROM THE RECORDS OF OUTSTANDING PAYMENT WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND THE UNITED KINGDOM, YOUR NAME/PARTICULARS WAS DISCOVERED AS NEXT ON THE LIST OF THE OUTSTANDING PAYMENTS WHO HAVE NOT YET RECEIVED THEIR PAYMENTS.
I WISH TO INFORM YOU THAT YOUR PAYMENT IS BEING PROCESSED AND WILL BE RELEASED TO YOU AS SOON AS YOU RESPOND TO THIS LETTER. ALSO NOTE THAT FROM THE RECORD IN MY FILE YOUR OUTSTANDING PART PAYMENT IS US$1,700,000.00 (ONE MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS).
KINDLY RE-CONFIRM TO ME THE FOLLOWINGS:
1) YOUR FULL NAME.
2) YOUR CONTACT ADDRESS.
3) PHONE, FAX AND MOBILE
4) PRIVATE EMAIL ADDRESS
5) PLACE OF WORK AND ADDRESS.
6) AGE AND MARITAL STATUS.
AS SOON AS THIS INFORMATION !
IS RECEIVED, YOUR PAYMENT WILL BE MADE TO YOU IN A CERTIFIED BANK DRAFT OR WIRED TO YOUR NOMINATED BANK ACCOUNT DIRECTLY FROM EITHER OUR UNITED STATES PAYMENT CENTER; J P MORGAN CHASE BANK NEW YORK OR BANK OF AMERICA, ROYAL
BANK OF SCOTLAND AND HSBC BANK IN LONDON UK. YOU CAN EMAIL ME ON MY DIRECT MAIL ADDRESS AS SOON AS YOU RECEIVE THIS MEMO FOR FURTHER DISCUSSION.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Please all replies to this email address)
CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This E-Mail is intended only for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed and may contain information that is privileged, confidential and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you have received this communication in error,please do not distribute and delete the original message.Please notify the sender by E-Mail at the address shown. Thank you for your compliance.