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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "because it still remains the fastest medium of communication" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "i feel quite safe dealing with you in this important business" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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.
- +447031940158 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- +447035944904 (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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Mr Travis Mervin <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 2010 20:14:57 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: RE: Mr. Mervin Travis (Call Me.)
From: Mr. Mervin Travis.
Private E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
TRANSFER OF 36,759,000.00 MILLION POUNDS TO YOUR ACCOUNT. My name is Mr. Mervin Travis, and I work in the International Operation Department in a Bank here in London. I feel quite safe dealing with you in this important business. Though, this medium (Internet) has been greatly abused, I choose to reach you through it because it still remains the fastest medium of communication. However, this correspondence is unofficial and private, and it should be treated as such. At first I will like to assure you that this transaction is 100% risk and trouble free to both parties. WE WANT TO TRANSFER OUT MONEY FROM OUR BANK HERE IN LONDON. THE FUND FOR TRANSFER IS OF CLEAN ORIGIN. THE OWNER OF THIS ACCOUNT IS A FOREIGNER, a program leader. Until his death, The Late Prime Minister, Mr. Rafik Hariri, has a huge investment here in the United Kingdom and all over the world, as a matter of fact he has the sum of(THIRTY SIX MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY NINE THOUSAND
POUNDS STERLINGS) in his account here in London which he deposited as a family valuables. The family does not know about this deposit.
I was on a routine inspection that I discovered a dormant domiciliary account with a BAL. Of (THIRTY SIX MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY NINE THOUSAND POUNDS STERLINGS) on further discreet investigation, I also discovered that the account holder has passed away (dead) leaving no beneficiary to the account. The bank will approve this money to any foreigner because the former operator of the a/c is a foreigner. I am certainly sure that nobody will come again for the claim of this money. A foreigner can only claim this money with legal claims to the account Holder; therefore I need your cooperation in this transaction. I will provide all necessary information needed in order to claim this money, hoping in God that you will never let me down now and in future.ok. Rafik Bahaa Edine Hariri (November 1, 1944 - February 14, 2005), married to Nazek Audi Hariri, was a Lebanese self-made millionaire and business tycoon, and was five times Prime Minister of Lebanon
(1992-1998 and 2000-2004) before his last resignation from office on October 20, 2004. The late Rafik Hariri died on February 14, 2005 when explosives equivalent to around 300 kg of C4 were detonated as his motorcade drove past the Saint George Hotel In the Lebanese capital, I WANT TO TRANSFER THIS MONEY INTO A SAFE FOREIGN ACCOUNT ABROAD BUT I DON'T KNOW ANY FOREIGNER WHOM I CAN TRUST, I KNOW THAT THIS MESSAGE WILL COME TO YOU AS A SURPRISE AS WE DON'T KNOW OURSELVES BEFORE, BUT BE SURE THAT IT IS REAL AND A GENUINE BUSINESS. I CONTACT YOU BELIEVING THAT YOU WILL NOT LET ME DOWN ONCE THE FUND GOES INTO YOUR ACCOUNT.
Let me hear from you URGENTLY by Email.
Mr. Mervin Travis.