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:
- "barrister" (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.
- +447031855103 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Mellisa Lewis" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2010 03:18:20 +0800
My name is Mrs. Mellisa Lewis . I am 59 years old and I was diagnosed for cancer for about 2 years ago. I will be going in for an operation later today. I decided to WILL/donate the sum of (Fourteen Million Two Hundred Fifty Eight Thousand United States Dollars) to you for the good work of the lord.
Contact my lawyer with this email:
Name: Barrister Jay Mchenry
Tell him that I have WILLED 14.258M to you by quoting my personal reference number JJ/MMS/953/5015/GwrI/316us/uk.
As soon as you contact him with this details quoted above, he should be able to recognize you and help in claiming this amount from my Bank. Be informed also that i have paid for the state tax on this money to be transferred to you.
Meanwhile you are advised to keep this mail and it contents confidential as i really want my wish accomplish at the end of the day. Please do pray to God for my recovery. My friend please do not send me any email as you are to send my barrister an email directly.
Mrs. Mellisa Lewis