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:
- "a security company " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "confidential business" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "is highly confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "MR. LEAH BRADLEY" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2011 23:56:32 -0800 (PST)
Subject: HELLO DEAR.
Let me start by introducing myself to you. My name is Leah Bradley (Ms) and I am employed by Lloyds TSB Bank in London, England. My job entails dealing on behalf of clients with packaging and courier services in my department. I live in South-central London , England . After going through your profile and doing a little research, I have seen that you seem like an honest and trustworthy person who can handle confidential business with me. What I am about to disclose to you is highly confidential and I trust that you will keep my confidence.
A sum of US$5 600 000.00 was supposed to be moved from my bank to a certain client through a courier services company. After doing all the processes to move these funds; the package containing the money was returned to me a couple of times overthe years; reason being the recipient did not turn up to receive or claim it. I then decided to offset all the charges and serviced the account and later moved this money into a security firm here in London , where I securely deposited it into a vault as valuable documents to this day. I have kept this money deposited with a security company here in England under my close monitoring for a very long time until I felt confident enough to move this money and make use of it. I now feel ready and confident to make use of this money but first of all I need to move it out of England and in order for me to do this I need a loyal foreign partner to work this out with like you.
My reason for writing you like this is I have decided to retire and resettle in your country and now want the money to be moved out of England to your country, where you will receive it and keep it safe for me until I come over to meet with you there. I need a business partner and friend who will advise me on proper investments in your country and how I can live comfortably. What I need is someone trustworthy to receive the money for me and I think you might fit that profile. I have made all the arrangements and plans to enable me to move the money from England to a country of my choice without hindrance. I have obtained and secured all back up documents to support whoever I chose as beneficiary to this money. For your assistance and help in receiving and investing the money, you will benefit a reasonable part of the total money.
Should you find my proposal offensive to you in anyway please do forgive me and ignore this mail. If you are willing to be my partner and friend in this project, please reply this as soon as possible as soon as you read it to let me know your mind on this proposition. If I am convinced that you are totally willing to cooperate with me on this assignment; I will give you my full contact details in England and I would appreciate it very much if you give me yours including your phone number where I can reach you.
Once again, I would appreciate your regard of this matter in high confidence.