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)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "waiting for your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "here in united kingdom" (this email uses bad English)
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- 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.
- 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.Williams Adams" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2011 18:17:50 -0800 (PST)
Subject: HELLO I CAN TRUST YOU WITH THIS INHERITANCE FUNDS US$10.5MILLION DOLLARS
MANAGER UNION BANK PLC
I AM MAKING THIS CONTACT WITH YOU IN GOODFAITH. I GOT YOUR CONTACT FROM THE INTERNET DIRECTORY.
I WORK WITH THE UNION BANK OF NIGERIA PLC, MY PURPOSE OF WRITING YOU IS TO ASK FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE TO PROVIDE YOUR BANK ACCOUNT WHERE I CAN SUCCESSFULLY TRANSFER THE SUM OF $10.5 MILLION (TEN MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS).
FOR YOUR INFORMATION,THERE IS ONE AMERIACAN OIL MERCHANT BASED HERE IN UNITED KINGDOM AND HIS NAME IS MR.FRANK WOOD HE IS THE OWNER OF FRANK WOOD GASLIN OIL.
MR.FRANK WOOD DIED IN A PLANE CRASH IN 1999 TOGETHER WITH HIS WIFE AND ONLY SON.HE IS BANKING WITH MY BANK AND I'M HIS ACCOUNTING MANAGER.
HOWEVER,SINCE THE DEATH OF MR.FRANK WOOD,I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO CONTACT ANY OF HIS RELATION IN THE CITY OF NEW-YORK, HIS HOME COUNTRY THROUGH HIS ADDRESS WITH ME, TO LET HIS PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT HIS MONEY IN OUR BANK. BUT I DID NOT RECIEVE ANY RESPONSE.NOW I HAVE DECIDED TO LINK ANYBODY TO STAND AS THE NEXT OF KIN TO MR.FRANK WOOD IN OTHER TO CLAIM THE MONEY.
NOTE THAT THERE IS NO RISK INVOLVED IN THIS TRANSACTION AT ALL AS I WILL GIVE EVERY INFORMATION ABOUT MR.FRANK WOOD AND ALL HIS BANKING RELATION WITH US. THIS TRANSACTION WILL GO THROUGH NORMAL BANKING PROCESS ONLY THAT YOU HAVE TO STAND FIRM AS THE NEXT OF KIN TO MR.FRANK WOOD JUST TO CLAIM THIS MONEY. I WILL DIRECT YOU ON HOW TO APPLY FOR THE CLAIM OF THIS MONEY.
PLEASE IF YOU ARE INTERESTED AND CAPABLE TO CARRY OUT THIS DEAL WITH ME, SEND ME YOUR FULL BANK DETAILS WHERE THIS MONEY WILL BE TRANSFERED AND ALSO GIVE ME YOUR MOBILE PHONE OR ANY PHONE NUMBER I CAN REACH YOU DIRECTLY.
NOTE THAT WE CAN CONCLUDE THIS DEAL WITHIN 1 WEEK YOU APPLIED FOR THE CLAIM.
I HAVE DECIDED TO SHARE THE MONEY EQUAL WITH YOU PROVIDED YOU WILL GIVE ME ALL THE ASSITANCE NEEDED.PLEASE REPLY TO MY PRIVATE EMAIL ADDRESS:firstname.lastname@example.org for security reasons.
I'M WAITING FOR YOUR URGENT RESPONSE.
MANAGER UNION BANK PLC