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:
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Rev Ebi Rose" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 4 Feb 2010 03:05:16 -0800
Subject: Attention Valued Beneficiary,
Attention Valued Beneficiary,
This is to officially inform you that your fund has been duly approved and gazette for you via ATM Visa Card after due reconciliation with the Audit Report of the year ended. Your Personal Identification Number is 0920.
The ATM Visa Card is Valued at ($5M USA DOLLARS) therefore You are advised to contact the Director ATM/Computer Department Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) (Dr Young Ben), for further direction on how to receive your Atm visa card. His Contact information is as below;
Email (email@example.com)Tel;+234 -803-8232123, Respond immediately with the under listed information's for clarity and avoidance of error;
Rev Ebi Rose
Public Relations officer CBN