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:
- "hundred thousand us dollars" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- +447023062976 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- +448715038640 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Agueda Carlos" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 2010 16:08:23 +0100
Subject: Happy New Year
I am sure this mail would be coming to you as a surprise since we have never met before and you would also be asking why I have decided to chose you amongst the numerous people in the world, precisely I cannot say why I have chosen you but I know I am making the right choice.
Before I move further, permit me to give you a little of my biography, I am Mrs. Agueda Carlos, 89 Years old woman and the wife of Late Sir Mendo Carlos who died in a Plane crash on Monday the 7th of September 1998 GMT 14:22 UK while they were flying from New York to Geneva. Please see site below for more information. http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9809/swissair.victims.list/index.html
Presently, I have willed out almost half of our assets to several charity homes and to some of the less privilege in different countries. Despite the agreement between my late husband and I to give aid to the deprived, we also agreed to render support to an individual we have not meet before in life due to the fact when we were still young in life we receive an anonymous help from an individual we did not know and which we have not being able to know till date, the impact we got from such gesture made us to do same.
I am sorry to inform you that you will never have the chance to know me because I have just concluded the assignment which my husband and I have agreed upon before his sudden death and you happened to be the beneficiary of our last WILL (which is a sum of money deposited in Halifax Bank UK), hence I need you to do me a favour by accepting our offer.
We have the sum of $8,800,000.00 (Eight Million, Eight Hundred Thousand US Dollars) with Halifax Bank UK; I have not made any transaction with my account for over a year now because of my illness and the doctor said I have few months to live because of my illness. Right now I want to give you the said sum for you to help the less privileged in your country and for your own personal use.
You have to contact Halifax Bank Plc now for the transfer of the funds to your personal account with this information below;
Contact Person: Dr. Wilson Cole
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
I also want to let you know that I have prepared the change of ownership affidavit, power of attorney and the insurance bond, so please, do not pay for any of this documents I just mentioned, you will be given the said documents as soon as you contact the bank with the below information.
Direct telephone number;
When contacting them, also include this code number: (4033/spce/9ty), you are to also present it to them for verification.
Please, try to contact them as soon as you receive this mail to avoid any further delay.
I know all this may sound surprising to you, I do not know you, but I want to trust you will use this fund to help the less privilege and for your own personal use, please if you know you can not be able to carry out this transaction, discard this email.
Mrs. Agueda Carlos