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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Tina Mba" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 17 Jun 2010 19:57:47 -0700
Subject: GOOD NEWS TO ALL FUNDS BENEFICIARIES.
This is to inform all beneficiaries both inheritance and contracts that the new President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has mandated the New Presidential Cashier, Hon. Osondu Ifeanyi to release all payments (unconditionally) without charges.
The Federal Government of Nigeria has mapped out a total sum of $28.6 Billion to offset all debt owed to foreigners by the government of Nigeria. The payment will be wired to all beneficiaries on first come, first serve basics.
Note that you are not required to pay any fee(s) to have your funds released. Therefore, contact the Presidential Cashier urgently for the claim of your funds. Below are his contact details for immediate communication:
Name: Hon. Osondu Ifeanyi
Direct Phone: +234 709 110 9849
Private Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Government is embarking on this kind gesture to redeem the image of this great country which has been messed up by corrupt officials and fraudsters. Please discontinue your communication with any other office that might jeopardize your funds release.
Congratulations in advance.
Mrs. Tina Mba.