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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "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)
- 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.
- +447045774810 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Ludo Wijngaarden" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 24 Mar 2011 06:05:03 +0100
Subject: #IT'S OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE#
Many apologies that I had to send you this email without a prior
relationship between us; my name is Mr.Ludo Wijngaarden, A member of
the supervisory board of the SNS Bank Netherlands and a Former member
Board of ING Bank Netherlands and also the former Chairman Board of
Post Bank Netherlands.
I have however contacted you with the hope of presenting you as the
beneficiary (next of kin) to a late client in one of the Branches of
the Bank in the Netherlands whose Bonded Depository Account with the
Bank in the Netherlands worth Fourteen Million Seven Hundred Thousand
Euros has remain unclaimed, I figured out that since you share a
common name with him, I decided to Contact you with this privileged
information regarding his account, this is as a result of the fact
that the late client has nobody left to claim this fund.
If such an account is not claimed or renewed to commence another
tenure of 7years, a 6months period of grace is granted to the account
holder or his designated beneficiary, a probate order of Mandamus is
then issued to provide such a beneficiary whereby failure to do so at
the end of it?s expiration the funds will be quarantined and shared
amongst the Directors of the Bank at the end of the fiscal year.
I bore in mind your personality and reputation of which the same apply
to me, on this light I then deemed it fit to assure you that the Funds
will be cleared in accordance with the firm's operational procedures
to ensure the transaction success without a breach of the law.
One thing is certain, with the relevant legal documents that I will
get to back you up the funds release will be approved for onward
release to you.
If this is okay with you then get back to me so that I give you more details.
Let it be known to you that this 14,700,000.00 Euros will be split
equally that is 50% for you and 50% for me.
I will want you to get back to me as soon as possible if you are
willing to assist in getting these funds, or you can give me a call on
my London line below which I acquired mainly for this purpose as I am
presently based in the UK.