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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "huge amount of money" (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)
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- 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.
- +447031936122 (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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Peter Marriott" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2010 14:11:15 +0100
Subject: British Finance Monitoring Unit.
My Name is Dr Mark John. I am contacting you for an advice on how I can invest some fund under your care. The fund is a proceed from the sales of crude oil allocated to me while in office as an Adviser to the Oil Company.
f this matter interest you, quickly forward your relevant retails , Full Name, Contact Address, City, State, Post Code, Home Phone Number, Cell Phone Number.
Note that I am under pressure to move the fund. Please reply to my alternative email Address email@example.com
Dr John Mark
THE BRITISH FINANCE MONITORING UNIT
>From the Desk Of Mr. Peter Marroitt.
Office Of The Director
British Finance Monitoring Unit.
Be inform that it has come to our notice that a huge sum of money has been credited in your name for transfer and is currently floating in the international banking community.
Under the stipulated Law of the Government of Great Britain and other member countries of the United Nations, any huge amount of money that has been found in the international computer data system waiting to be transferred without claims for a period of 6 months or less, shall be confiscated and forfeited to the United Nations account.
We do hereby ask you to contact this office immediately for ratification within the 3 days of this notice by forwarding to us all your current information including your direct telephone number and postal address where your payment release documents will be send to you in order for us to confirm your personal receipt of this fund or consider your fund confiscated.
Be informed that as soon as we receive your current data then we will endorse with the legal preparation of your payment release documents and immediately instruct our authorized Bank of International Settlement (BIS) to release your funds by forwarding your file to them for immediate payment consideration.
We appreciate your urgent co-operation.
Mr. Peter Marroitt.
British Finance Monitoring Unit.
CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: THIS COMMUNICATION AND ITS ATTACHMENTS MAY CONTAIN NON-PUBLIC, CONFIDENTIAL OR LEGALLY PRIVILEGED INFORMATION. THE UNLAWFUL INTERCEPTION, USE OR DISCLOSURE OF SUCH INFORMATION IS PROHIBITED. IF YOU ARE NOT THE INTENDED RECIPIENT, OR HAVE RECEIVED THIS COMMUNICATION IN ERROR, PLEASE NOTIFY THE SENDER IMMEDIATELY BY REPLY EMAIL AND DELETE ALL COPIES OF THIS COMMUNICATION AND ATTACHMENTS WITHOUT READING OR SAVING THEM.