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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- 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: "Ms Favor Uzoka" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 26 Feb 2010 04:17:35 +0100
Subject: Urgent Information Regarding Your Unpaid Fund
I am Ms Favor Uzoka. A computer scientist with central bank of Nigeria. I am 26 years old, just started work with C.B.N. I came across your file which was marked X and your released disk painted RED, I took time to study it and found out that you have paid VIRTUALLY all fees and certificate but the fund has not been release to you. The most annoying thing is that they cannot tell you the truth that on no account wills they ever release the fund to you; instead they let you spend money unnecessarily. I do not intend to work here all the days of my life, I can release this fund to you if you can certify me of my security, and how I can run away from this Nigeria if I do this, because if I don't run away from this country after I made the transfer, I will be Seriously in trouble and my life will be in danger.
Please this is like a Mafia setting in Nigeria; you may not understand it because you are not a Nigerian. The only thing I will need to release this fund is a special HARD DISK we call it HD120 GIG. I will buy two of it, recopy your information, destroy the previous one, and punch the computer to reflect in your bank within 24 banking hours. I will clean up the tracer and destroy your file, after which I will run away from Nigeria to meet with you. If you are interested. Do get in touch with me immediately, You should send to me your convenient tell/fax numbers for easy communications and also re confirm your banking details, so that there won't be any mistake. for phone converstion,please call me on +234-807-676-6856
Ms Favor Uzoka