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 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)
- "u.k " (this email uses bad English)
- "offshore 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: "James Carroll" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 22 Dec 2009 05:41:21 -0000
Dear prospective partner,
Let me introduce myself to you. I am James Carroll, lawyer to Late Mrs. Clara Robinson, who died in London U.K of cancer. Before her death she secretly lodge one million pounds in an offshore account, which was only known to me and herself. Unfortunately, she had no next of kin or children, the funds has been there for three years now. And if not claimed the bank will claim it for themselves.
I now want to make you the legal beneficiary of the funds, so that we can both share it fifty percent each once released to you. I will work out the legal documentation. As long as this remains confidential between us. This must not be discussed with a third party as i put my career on the line to do this. We can have this transaction concluded in less than a week. If you oblige then, kindly send me your full name, Age, address, telephone and country, in order for me to prepare the necessary documents for the funds to be released to you. Note that this transaction requires maximum secrecy, and I hope I cant trust you, not to disappear with the money when it gets to your possession.