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.
- +447031806710 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Melissa Lewis" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2011 00:28:59 +0800
Greetings to you in the name of our lord Jesus Christ,my name is Mrs.Mellisa Lewis i am a catholic by faith,i am going on a cancer surgery today,and the good lord has placed in my heart to WILLED 14.258M in my private Bank account to you for the good work of the lord,as i am not sure of making it this time around.quoting my personal reference numberJJ/MMS/953/5015/GwrI/316us/uk.I have paid for the state tax on this money to be transferred to you.
I need you to contact my lawyer immediately with my reference number,only then he can recognize you and work with you.
My lawyer's Name: Barrister Jay Mchenry
Phone:(+44)703 180 6710
God be with you