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:
- "million pounds" (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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "@lawyer.com" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- +447024038950 (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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "PATRICIA DAVIES" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 3 May 2010 11:55:46 +0100
Subject: GOD BLESS YOU
My name is Mrs. Patricia Davies I am a 62 years old dying woman who have decided to donate what I have to you/church.I was diagnosed for cancer for about 2 years ago,immediately after the death of my husband, who has left me everything he worked for.I have been touched by God to donate from what I have inherited from my late husband to the you for the good work of God, rather than allow my relatives to use my husband hard earned funds ungodly. Please pray, that the good Lord forgive me my sins.I have asked God to forgive me and i believe he has because He is a merciful God. I will be going in for an operation in less than one hour. I decided to WILL/donate the sum of 12 Million Pounds Including accrued interest over 7 years of deposit to you for the good work of the lord, and also to help the motherless and less privilege and also for the assistance of the widows. At the moment I cannot take any telephone calls right now due to the fact that my relatives are around me and my
.I have adjusted my WILL and my lawyer is aware I have changed my will. You and he will arrange the transfer of the funds from my account to you.I wish you all the best and may the good Lord bless you abundantly, and please use the funds well and always extend the good work to others. Contact my lawyer Barrister Steven Meyer with this specified address:
Name: Steven Meyer
Add: 20 Victoria Street, London, SW1H 0NF UK
Tell him that I have Willed to you the sum of 12 million pounds by quoting my personal reference number law/chamber/solicitors/je/ws/WILL/9834520012 and I have also notified him that I am WILLING that amount to you for a specific and good work.I know I dont know you but I have been directed to do this.Thanks and God bless.
NB: I will appreciate your utmost confidentiality in this matter until the task is accomplished as I don't want anything that will Jeopardize my last wish. And Also I will be contacting with you by email as I don't want my relation or anybody to know because they are always around me.