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:
- "chambers" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "cheques " (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: "Paul Graham" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 3 Jan 2010 11:29:12 -0000
Subject: kindly do await your response
I know this email comes to you with surprise as we have not met before, but my apologies for the instruction. I have chosen to communicate first you, with the use of email for the urgency of this project. I am Matt Miller, a Financier and the official receiver in charge of administering the funds from the sale of the assets of the bankruptcy estate of Amour Steel Grant, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom.
Via numerous searches made with the Chambers of Commerce, though the intended purpose of this transaction wasnt revealed, I have communicated with you, this isnt anything illegal.
With honesty and transparency of purpose, I seek your candid assistance to present you as one of the creditors of the sale of the assets of Amour Steel Grant. I have processed the claims of all other creditors and also issued out cheques for their claims, but have observed a certain surplus amount is yet to be disbursed out .To this end, I am seeking your assistance to help secure this yet undisclosed sum to you.
The modalities of the project will be communicated to you in my next email, as soon as I receive a positive response from you and in the affirmative your direct contact numbers and I shall advice you further. I guarantee that all dealings and transactions will be executed under a legitimate background that will protect you from any breach of the law.