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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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. )
- "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 "New Partner from Paraguay" scam.
- 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.
- +2348073795600 (Nigeria, prepaid mobile phone)
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.Shirley Oswald" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 2009 02:14:24 +0100
Subject: UNFINISHED TRANSFER OF FUNDS !
I'm happy to inform you about my success in getting the fund transferred to a Swiss Account with the cooperation of a new partner from Paraguay who is an international Certified business man.
Due to your effort, sincerity, courage and trust worthiness you showed,I want to compensate you and show my gratitude to you with the sum of $850,000usd United States Dollars I have authorized the Finance House where I deposited the money to issue you international certified bank draft cashable at your bank.
Presently I'm in Paraguay for investment projects with my own share of the total sum. Meanwhile, I did not forget your past efforts and attempts to assist me in transferring those funds despite the fact that it failed us some how then.
I will like you to contact the ceo in charge of the finance house for the collection of this international certified bank draft. The name of the person with your Cheque is Mr.Allen Blakes
COMPENSATION AND FINANCE HOUSE HEAD OFFICE
CONTACT AGENT: Mr.Allen West
Ask him to send to you the total $850,000usd United States Dollars which I kept for your compensation for all the past efforts and attempts to assist me in this matter. I appreciated your efforts at that time very much,so feel free and get in touch with my secretary Mr.Allen West and instruct him where to send the Certified Bank draft to you without any further delays.
Please do let me know immediately you receive it so that we can share the joy after all the suffering at that time. At the moment, I am very busy here because of the investment projects which I and my new partnerare having at hand. Remember that I had forwarded instruction to my secretary on your behalf to receive that money, so get in touch with him and he will send the Bank draft to you without delay.
Finally, my sincere advice to you as a Christian is that you should endeavor to pay your tithe to a bible believing church when you get the money.
Your share of the money with best regards.