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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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 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.
- 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; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
- lagos-nigeria telephone: +234-802-582-4103 email : email@example.com you are to reconfirm to him your full name, telephone (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "FESTUSEZE" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2011 14:25:58 -0700
Subject: CONTACT MY SECRETARY:firstname.lastname@example.org
How are you today? Hope all is well with you and your family? I hope this mail meets you in a perfect condition.You may not understand why this mail came to you but if you do not remember me, you might have received an email from me in the past regarding a multi-million-dollar business proposal which we never concluded. I am using this opportunity to inform you that the multi-million-dollar business has been concluded with another person who financed it to a logical conclusion. I am also thanking you for you're great effort to our unfinished transfer of the fund into your account but due to one reason or the other best known to you, we were unable to complete the business together.
Now I want to inform you that I have successfully transferred the fund out of my bank to my new partner's account in China that was capable of assisting me in this great venture but due to your effort,sincerity, courage and trustworthiness you showed during the course of the transaction I want to reward you and show my gratitude to you with the sum of $650,000.00.
I have left an international certified bank draft on your name worth $650,000.00 which is cashable anywhere in the world. My friend I will like you to contact my secretary, his name is Mr. CHIKA ATELI, for the collection of this international certified bank draft. I have authorized him to release the international certified bank draft to you as soon as you contacts him regarding this issue.
At the moment, I am very busy here because of the investment projects which myself and the new partner are having at hand. Please I will like you to accept this token with good faith as this is from the bottom of my heart. Also comply with MR. CHIKA ATELI so that he will send the draft to you without any delay, contact him on the below contact information:
CONTACT: MR. CHIKA ATELI
ADDRESS: No 4 cooperation drive dolphins Lagos-Nigeria
EMAIL : email@example.com
You are to reconfirm to him your full Name, telephone number and your address where you want him to send the draft to you.
Thanks and God bless you and your family. hope to hear from you soon.
CONTACT MY SECRETARY: ( firstname.lastname@example.org )