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:
- "from: the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "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.
- +447031936253 (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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Yahoo, Japan; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "rechy" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 20 Aug 2009 06:19:27 -0700
Subject: RE: PAYMENT OF US$800,000.00
Barclays bank London UK
From: The Desk of
RE: PAYMENT OF US$800,000.00 INTEREST INTO YOUR
I am Mrs.Jane Rechy. Managing Director, Corpoarte Services Division and Head of Swift Transfer Unit of Barclays bank London UK.
Sometime ago, in our bank your inheritance fund was brought to our bank from National Lotto Group here in England and after some period, the money was taken back to their treasury. But for the period of time this money was in our bank, it generated an interest of US$800,000.00 which we are about to pay you Via International Certified Bank Draft through our corresponding bank in US. (Bank of America).
For your information and advice, you need to hasten up to pick this Fund because from time to time the National Lotto Group auditors do come to our bank to cross-check our files and our financial update, the earlier you comply with the demands of the delivery of the fund, the faster the action, because when the auditors arrive and find out that this interest fund is still in our bank they will call back the accrued interest to the lotto treasury account.
What we need from you now is any form of your identification for example;your International passport or your driver license,your telephone and fax numbers for easy communication to you with your mailing address where this Draft will be delivered. As a matter of fact we dont have enough time to waste since we have wasted time in ontacting you through phone, so try and comply with the entire necessary requirement for the transaction.
Contact Mr.Roy Williams
Tel: 44 7031936253
Fax: 44 700 594 2237
EMAIL : email@example.com
Note I have attempted to call you but all effort failed and I had to send you a mail on this email address, which I guessed belongs to you.
Expecting your immediately response.
Barclays bank London UK
Internet communications are not secure and therefore the Barclays Group does not accept legal responsibility for the contents of this message. Although the Barclays Group operates
anti-virus programmes, it does not accept responsibility for any damage whatsoever that is caused by viruses being passed. Any views or opinions presented are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Barclays Group. Replies to this email may be monitored by the Barclays Group for operational or business