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:
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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 (Rediffmail, India; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. James Wislon" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2011 12:16:21 -0000
Subject: My Dear,
Pardon me for not knowing your mindset before making you this offer which is utterly confidential and
genuine by virtue of its nature. I write to solicit your assistance in a funds transfer deal involving
US$14.2 million. This fund has been stashed out of the excess profit made last year by my branch office
of the INTERCONTINENTAL BANK OF NIGERIA PLC. I have already submitted an approved end-of-the-year
report for the year 2010 to my head office, and they will never know of this excess cash. Upon your
response, I shall configure your name on our payroll database as holder of the excess account. I will then
guide you on how to apply to my head office for the bank-to-bank remittance of the excess cash of US$14.2
million into your designated bank account. If you accept this proposal, I intend for you to retain 30% of the
funds while 70% shall be for me. Kindly send your mobile telephone number to enhance our communications.
kindly Reply here: email@example.com
Mr. James Wislon
Intercontinental Bank Nigeria Plc
28, Dobbil Plaza Off Agudosi Street,
Alaba International Market Ojo Alaba,
Lagos state, Nigeria.