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)
- "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)
- "cheque " (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.
- 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.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Richard Silva" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 22:24:06 -0800
Subject: APPRECIATION OF YOUR PAST EFFORTS
Hope this mail finds you in an excellent condition of health. You may not understand why this mail came to you. If you do not remember me, have received an email from me in the past regarding a Multi-million-dollar business proposal which we did not conclude.
I am using this opportunity to inform you that the transaction has been concluded with another person who financed it to a logical conclusion. I thank you for your great effort towards the unfinished transfer of fund into your account due to one reason or the other best known to you.
I want to inform you that I have successfully transferred the fund out of the bank to my new partner's account in London that was capable of assisting me in this great venture. In view of the efforts and truthfulness you exhibited during the course of the transaction I want to compensate you and express gratitude to you with the sum of US$500,000.00. I have left an international certified bank Cheque for you worth $500,000.00 cashable anywhere in the world.
I advise you to contact my secretary: MR. MICHEAL OLU, for the collection of the certified bank Cheque. I have authorized him to release it to you as soon as you contact him regarding this issue.
At the moment, I am very busy here because of the investment projects which myself and the new partner are having at hand. Please I would want you to accept this token in good faith as this is from the bottom of my heart. Also comply with MR. MICHEAL OLU to enable him send the Cheque to you without any delay. Do contact him using the understated
NAME : MR. MICHEAL OLU
EMAIL : firstname.lastname@example.org
Therefore, you should send him your full Name and telephone number / your address where you want him to send the Cheque to you.
Thanks and God bless you and your family, hope to hear from
Mr. Richard Silva.