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)
- "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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Garry Jones" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 7 Jan 2010 16:44:12 -0800
Subject: I Will Appreciate Your Thought About This Subject Matter.
I have the admiration and confidence to introduce this business to you in view of the fact that you are dependable and consistent as my inquiry reveals. I would like to introduce myself, I am Garry Jones and I work with the staff in the accounts management section of a well-known bank here in the United Kingdom.
One of our account held a balance of £15, 000,000 (fifteen million British Pounds) and have been dormant for more than 4 years. From my investigation and confirmation, the owner of this account is a foreigner by name of Mr. Jerry Thomas who died on the 4th of January 2002 in a plane crash in Birmingham here in the UK.
Since then no one has responded in anyway in regards to claiming the funds. As far as we can tell he has no family member who is aware of the existence of either the account or the funds. Information from the National Immigration Office also states that he was single on entry into the UK.
I have confidentially discussed this issue with some of the bank officials and we have agreed to find a reliable foreign partner to deal with us. We thus propose to do business with you, standing in as the next of kin. We will process these funds from the deceased and release them to you, after due processes have been followed.
This transaction is totally risk free as the funds is legitimate and does not originate from drug, money laundry, terrorism or any other illegal act. Think this over and should you be interested, please let me hear from you.