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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a "New Partner from Paraguay" 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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs Lisa Davis" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2011 20:51:18 +0100
Subject: Compliment Keep Me Posted Once You Received The Money!!
My Dear Friend,
Compliment of the season and Happy New Year, it is with great pleasure and I am so happy to write you today, how are you doing together with your job, business activities and family? i hope you are coping and doing just fine. Hope you have not forgotten me so soon? I am Dr. Ms Lisa Davis, the woman from Hammond Indiana United States base on Crude Oil Business in Western Africa Lagos Nigeria who contacted and chat with you some time ago to assist me secure the release of some Oil contract/inheritance money some time ago.
Though you were not able to assist me conclude the transaction at that time, I'm just happy to inform you about my success in getting those funds transferred under the assistance and co-operation of a new partner from El Paso Texas. Presently I'm in Switzerland for investment projects with my own share of the total sum.
Meanwhile, i didn't forget your past advice, efforts and attempts to assist me in getting those funds at that time. So, I made sure you are not left out of the benefit of the transaction. Hence, I kept aside for you the sum of Twenty Five Million United States Dollars (US$25,000,000.00) in care of (Mr. Barry Wilson CEO) Citibank Plc, Lagos Nigeria West Africa.
I and my new partner agreed to compensate you with that amount for all your past efforts and attempts to assist me at that time. Therefore, get in touch with (Mr. Barry Wilson CEO) Citibank Plc, Lagos Nigeria on how to get the funds transferred to you without any delay.
Please do let me know immediately the funds is been received in your account so that we can both share the joy together after all the stress of the transaction at that time. In the moment, I'm very busy here because of the Oil Investment Projects which me and my partner are having at hands.
So feel free to get in touch with (Mr. Barry Wilson CEO) for the Twenty Five Million United States Dollars (US$25,000,000.00) i left for you now.
Below is the contact to (Mr. Barry Wilson CEO) Citibank Plc:
Mr. Barry Wilson CEO
Citibank Plc Lagos Nigeria
Tel: +234 808 070 3271
With Best Regards,
Dr. Ms Lisa Davis.