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:
- 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- 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.
- +447045720231 (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 (Yahoo, Hong Kong; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Mr Elvis Brown <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 10 May 2010 17:34:23 -0400
Subject: Fund Transfer
I discovered a dormant account in my office, as Auditor of a bank Hear in
London. It will be in my interest to transfer this fund worth Twenty
Million Pounds Sterling 20,000,000) in an account, offshore. If you can be
a collaborator/partner to this please indicate interest immediately for,
us to proceed. Remember this is absolutely confidential, as I am seeking
your assistance as the, beneficiary of this unclaimed funds,
I propose an offer of 40% of the total amount to be yours after the
transfer has been uccessfully concluded. Let me have your Full
Name,Confidential Telephone, Fax and Mobile Numbers and also
yourContactAddress in response to this proposal if you are interested.
Please reply immediately to my private email address
Mr. Elvis M Brown
Tel: +44 704 5720231
Tel, +44 704 5778476