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:
- "deadline" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "CHARLES STANLEY" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 12 May 2011 19:33:17 +0300 (EAT)
Subject: Regarding the Graham Robert Trust Fund
Regarding the Graham Robert Trust Fund:
This is in regard to the Graham Robert trust fund amounting to the sum of
(US$155,600,000.USD), still pending claims with the transferring bank. I
have contacted you severally concerning this claims process and I
specifically made it clear that unless the requested fee is paid by the
transferring bank, the fund cannot or will not be transferred to your
I at this point will warn that you try your utmost best to ensure that the
requested fee is paid to the transferring bank to ensure that the fund is
activated and transferred to your on line account latest 48 hours after
confirmation of your payment. I want you to understand that at this point
there is no much time on your side as the British High court will soon
send a deadline date for you to complete this transaction otherwise the
fund will be confiscated by their office.
You are advised however, to ensure that the fee is paid ASAP so as to
ensure that the fund is transferred. Your immediate response to this
email will be appreciated.
Have a nice day