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:
- "money order " (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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: SENATE PRESIDENT OFFICE FEDERA <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 11 Apr 2010 18:03:00 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: YOUR CONTRACT/INHERITANCE FUND OF USD$2.3M (Two Million Three Hundred Thousand Dollars) HAVE BEEN RELEASED.
HONORABLE SENATE PRESIDENT
OFFICE OF THE SENATE HOUSE
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN PAYMENT
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA.
I hope that this correspondence is received with the urgency and expediency required. Our records indicate that you appear to be the owner of an unclaimed fund worth $2.3Million(Two Million Three Hundred Thousand Dollars). We observed that no transaction or other activities to get these fund to your possession has been noted for a significant period of time and this fund was noted to be either Inheritance Fund from a Deceased One, Lottery Unclaimed Fund, Uncompleted Transferred Funds, Fund Left after a Disaster, Overpayment Funds, Swine Flu, Government Stop Order, Money Order or by sudden Change of Address where the said account was opened or directed.
Henceforth; If you are still interested in getting these fund transferred / delivered to you and wish to prevent the fund from being reported to the HM Revenue & Customs Treasurer as "unclaimed" as required by the American, Asia and United Kingdom Unclaimed Property Act, please acknowledge the receipt of this message by forwarding your information's to SENATOR EDWIN CLARK.
SENATOR EDWIN CLARK
DIRECT PHONE LINE:+234-704-259-5730
Please Contact SENATOR EDWIN CLARK immediately you receive this message for more information or send your reply to this email:firstname.lastname@example.org
You have to stop any further communication with any other person(s) OR office(s) to avoid any hitches in receiving your payment.
Office of the Senate President Federal Republic of NIGERIA.