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)
- "your payment is being processed" (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)
- "million united states dollars" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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.
- +447031805584 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Ken Murphy" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 2010 19:49:34 +0800
Subject: Dear Sir/Madam
I am Mr.Ken Murphy, Bill and Exchange Manager/ Secretary General, Head of the World Bank Finance Group, London Branch, set up to fight against scam and fraudulent activities worldwide. This Group is responsible for investigating the legitimacy of unpaid contract, inheritance and lotto winning claims by companies and individuals and directs the paying authorities (banks) worldwide to make immediate payment of verified claims to the beneficiaries without further delay.
You are being legally contacted regarding the release of your long awaited fund. After a detailed review of your file, the World Bank Group has mandated that your fund should be release immediately. The sum of US$3,000,000.00 (Three Million United States Dollars) has been approved in your favor via my desk. I therefore wish to inform you that your payment is being processed and will be released to you as soon as you respond to this letter.
Please re-confirm to us the following:
(1) Your Full Name:
(2) Phone, Fax and Mobile Number:
(3) Company Name, Home Address:
(4) Profession, Age and Marital status:
Note that the above fund has been cleared from terrorist or fraud related activities.
Thanks for Your Cooperation.
World Bank Group