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)
- "certified bank draft" (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. )
- 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 (Yahoo, Japan; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Elinor Brown David." (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2011 07:48:10 -0800
Subject: Congratulations Unpaid Beneficiary !!
Congratulations Unpaid Beneficiary,
It is obvious that you have not received your fund which is to the tune of $1.2million due to past corrupt Governmental Officials who almost held the fund to themselves for their selfish reason and some individuals who have taken advantage of your fund all in an attempt to swindle your fund which has led to so many losses from your end and unnecessary delay in the releasing of your fund.
We have been able to track down so many of this scam artist in various parts of west African countries which includes(NIGERIA, REPUBLIC OF BENIN, TOGO, GHANA CAMEROON AND SENEGAL) and they are all in our custody here in Lagos Nigeria.
We have been able to recover so much money from these scam artists. The United Nation Anti-crime commission and the United State Government have ordered the money recovered from the Spammers to be shared among 100 Lucky people around the globe.
This email is being directed to you because your email address was found in one of the scam Artists file and computer hard disk in our custody here in Nigeria and with the information gathered from this Scam artist, we notice that you have been scammed of so much money and have decided to compensate you with a little token to recover the lost of your fund.
The National Central Bureau of Interpol enhanced by the United Nations and Federal Bureau of Investigation have successfully passed a mandate to the current acting president of Nigeria his Excellency President Goodluck Jonathan to boost the exercise of clearing all foreign debts owed to you and other individuals and organizations who have been found not to have receive their Contract Sum, Lottery/Gambling, Inheritance and the likes.
Now how would you like to receive your payment? via a certified bank draft or by ATM card?
To effect the release of your fund valued at $1.2million, you are advised to contact the director of payment via his email address with the information below,
Dr. Michael Thomas.
On contacting him do provide him with the following informations:
Your full Name...
Preferred Payment Method (ATM/certified bank draft):.................
This morning our local time I sent a fax to the office of the president Dr Goodluck Jonathan who issued a mandate to compensate scam victim like you through your prefered method of payment that will be shipped to you alongside the documents to back them up, the fax I sent to him was to let him know, who will be responsible for the Insurance document and Federal tax document on his response to me through same fax he said he will talk to the head of the ministry offices where this documents are procured.
You are therefore advice not to toy with this developments as a mandate was also issued to terminate the fund immediately if you fail to claim your fund soonest.I have done my best as a clergy drafted newly to this position to assist people like you the rest is left for you. urgent response will enable me forge ahead towards the onwards delivery of your payment to your residential address.
I await your response to this email so we forge ahead with your payment delivery.
Mrs. Elinor Brown David.
Financial Crimes Commission
CC: National Central Bureau of Interpol
Information contained in this email is confidential and intended for the addresses only. Any dissemination, distribution, copying or use of this communication without prior permission from the addressee is strictly prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient of this communication, please delete it permanently without copying,disclosing or otherwise using its contents, and notify the sender immediately.