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:
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
- +447035991668 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: Microsoft Award <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 13 Mar 2010 16:17:41 -0300
Subject: Dear Winner
This is to inform you that your email address is among the 100 beneficiaries of Microsoft Online Endowment Fund Award.
Your Funds Would Be Released to You any Moment From Now, But Before Any Further Processing, We Need to Have Your Information Registered in Our Database, Please Fill The Form as Below and send to your zoned payment officer as soon as possible with his contact information as below.
Note: Your File Reference Number is MSCEFA2009/072.
Next of Kin:
File Reference Number:
As Soon as he receives The Information Above You Will Be Duly Informed On What Next to Do.
Name: Mr. Bright Sampson
Tel: +44703 599 1668
Mrs. Betty Anderson.