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:
- "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)
- "certified bank draft" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr.Peter Edmond" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 26 Sep 2010 03:39:54 -0700
I contacted you some time ago in respect to the funds transfer of my deceased client . I want to sincerely thank you for your help initially although you backed out thinking that the funds transfer was illegal and a scam. Well, everything was legal and legit and went well, the funds transfer was a success!!!
I am on vacation now in benin republic with my family. In a way to appreciate your kind gesture, I have instructed my bank to transfer the sum of one million two hundred thousand USD ($1,200,000.00) to you via a certified Bank Draft/check so that you can claim and cash in your bank. This is my little way of saying thank you for your initial help.
Please send to me the following information as soon as possible at my private email address, so that I can forward it to my bank for the necessary modalities in the transfer of your Bank draft.
1. Your full Name
2. Telephone/Mobile phone number:
3. Contact address
5 Drivers Licensed/International Identity