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:
- "million british pounds" (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)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Jim McConville" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 13:22:18 +0100
Subject: Greetings And Business Proposal
Lloyd's TSB Group plc
25 Gresham Street
London EC2V 7HN
This might not be the appropriate channel to contact you but situation necessitated this medium. However, I am sincerely sorry for any inconveniency this may bring your way.
I discovered a dormant account in my office, with no owner or beneficiaries. It will be in my interest to transfer the proceeds of this account worth Twenty million British Pounds to an offshore country. If you can be a collaborator/partner to this please indicate interest immediately for us to proceed.
Remember this is absolutely confidential, as i am seeking your assistance to act as the beneficiary of the account, since we are not allowed to operate foreign accounts. Your collaborating response will be highly appreciated and beneficial.
I have reposed my confidence in you and hope that you will not disappoint me.