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:
- "million united state 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)
- "very 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Francis MILLS-ROBERTSON" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2011 07:43:30 -0000
Subject: From: Mr. Francis
From: Mr. Francis MILLS-ROBERTSON
Director Bills & Exchange
STANDARD CHARTER BANK LIMITED GHANA:
Good day,I am Mr. Francis MILLS-ROBERTSON, the Director Bills & Exchange.I personally discovered a dormant account with a total sum of $49,000,000.00 (FOUR NINE MILLION UNITED STATE DOLLARS) during our Bank's Annual Year Account Auditing.
The owner of this dormant account died on 5th December 2005. Since the death of the deceased, nobody has operated in this account till date. Moreover, this account has NO BENEFICIARY attached to it. Definitely, this fund will be confiscated by our BANKING CODE OF ETHICS if it remains dormant for a period of (6) years without any claims. In this regard, I earnestly need your full cooperation in transferring this dormant fund out of our bank to avoid confiscating this fund. I will split the transfer into two 2 stages for easy and smooth transfer.
First, I will transfer $19,000,000.00 to any valid foreign account you will nominate, upon a successful transfer without any disappointment from your side, I will then fly to meet you in your home destination for sharing, and thereafter we jointly transfer the remaining balance of $30,000,000.00 for magnitude investments.
If you are willing to cooperate in this project, I will give you details immediately as soon as I hear from you with the following information in order to proceed.
1) Full Name
3) Marital Status
4) Cell Phone/Fax Number
5) Your Country
8) Your Company
Please note that you are required to keep very confidential.
Director Bills & Exchange
STANDARD CHARTERED BANK