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:
- "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)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Stephen Williams" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2011 13:01:39 -0800 (PST)
Subject: CONTACT MY SECRETARY MR JAMES PACK FOR YOUR CHEQUE
Good day TO You!!
It is my pleasure to reach you after our successful attempt on our business transaction. Well, I just want to use this medium to thank you very much for your earlier assistance to help me in receiving the fund,I am obliged to inform you that I have succeeded in transfering the fund with the help of a new partner from Paraguay Mr.James Pack. Everything was perfectly done because we stroke a deal with one of the Lady accountant who works with the Federal Ministry of Finance (F M F), and she rendered tremendous help to us.My new partner initiated this idea and it worked out successfully.
In appreciation of your earlier assistance to me in receiving the funds, I have decided to compensate you with the sum of $1.5million USD(One Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars), Please accept it as a token of appriciation from Me. Presently,
I am in Paraguay for investment project.Since it was difficult to contact you before i travelled due to the urgency of my business schedule, I have left instruction with my personal secretary Mr.James Pack ,Please contact him through his E-mails address ( email@example.com ) Phone number: +229-99-651-442, Please email him and inform him that I have contacted you that he should go ahead to send your compensation cheque.
I gave him your information's but you have to reconfirm it again to him so that he will confirm that you are the person supposed to contact him, considering the kind of information he is expecting,so fill free to get in touch with Mr.James Pack he will send you the cheque without any delay.
Your Full Name :
God Bless you and your family.