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:
- "necessary legal documents" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "hundred thousand great british pounds" (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)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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.
- +447024065674 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: John Tugwell <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 2 May 2011 13:22:31 +0100 (BST)
Subject: From Dr. John Tugwell
From Dr. John Tugwell
I am Dr John Tugwell from Harlsden, North West London, here in England. I work with UBS Investment Bank. I am writing you from my office that will be of an immense benefit to both of us. In my department, being the head of distressed debt research, I discovered an abandoned sum of (Fifteen Million four hundred thousand Great British Pounds) in an account that belongs to Mr, Stephen Richard, a polish Business man who died in river thames along with his families in a boat mishap while on a picnic with his family.
The choice of contacting you is aroused from the geographical nature of where you live, particularly due to the sensitivity of the transaction, and the confidentiality herein. Now our bank has been waiting for any of the relatives to come-up for the claim but nobody has done that. I personally have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives since I resumed office, I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin /Will Beneficiary to the deceased so that the proceeds of this account valued at (Fifteen Million four hundred thousand Great British Pounds) can be paid to you. This will be disbursed or shared in these percentages, 60% to me and 40% to you. I have secured all necessary legal documents that can be used to back up this claim we are making. All I need is to fill in your names to the documents and legalize it in the court here to prove you as the legitimate beneficiary. All I require now is your honest Co-operation, Confidentiality
and Trust to enable us see this transaction through. I guarantee you that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.
Please provide me the following: as we have a few days to run it through. This is very URGENT PLEASE. 1. Full Name 2. Your Mobile phone Number3. Your Residential address 4. Your Age:
This information will enable me to upload your data into our bank database to reflect in the bank network system that you are the named next of kin/will beneficiary of this fund, and I will guide you on how to open communication with the bank and make the claims for onward transfer of the funds to your bank account in your country, please note that we have few days to carry out this deal, Your kind and rapid response will be highly appreciated.
Regards, Dr.John Tugwell.Private Number: +447024065674Private Email:firstname.lastname@example.org