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:
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- "my direct line" (a "direct line" in a scam usually means an untraceable mobile phone number used by a scammer in an internet cafe, a redirection service number that forwards to a mobile or a free voicemailbox in a different country.)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Barr. John Okafor." (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 2010 08:37:48 -0700
Subject: To whom it may concern.
From: Barrister John O Okafor (Esq)
Legal Practitioners/ Notary Public
Block 24, Falomo Office Complex,
Ikoyi. Lagos- Nigeria.
My name is Barrister. John Okafor, Legal adviser to Michael Coker, an Accountant Director with Union Bank, Lagos-Nigeria, we are looking at a property enhanced with all appurtenances, gardens, swimming pool, terraces, valid with a court yard, all bounding a detached house in the demised premises.
We urgently want to acquire and invest on properties e.g. Houses, Hotels as well as other lucrative venture, most importantly, as a top senior Bank officer with with bank, he urgently wants to buy houses and invest in any lucrative venture abroad so that he can relocate his
entire family out of the country, due to huge sum of money he Intended to move out of the Bank. If you are of genuine intensions and can handle this with us, please contact me as soon as possible via email or call me on my Direct Line:
+234-805-169-9544.for more details.
I urgently await your response, for it is very urgent.