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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "await your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- 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.
- +447092873190 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Jason D. Nicholls" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 20 Aug 2011 11:09:52 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Re: Business Co-operation.
I am seeking for your co-operation to present you to our financial
institution as the Beneficiary to Late Mr. Phillip Carter's fund,he is a
UK Entrepreneur who died in a helicopter crash with his son. please view
link for confirmation http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/6614347.stm
Before his death, he was a Founder of training firm Carter & Carter. The
company is now worth more than £500m Held shares worth £100m in Carter &
Carter and has a bank balance with our financial institution to the tune
of (Twenty Three Million, Five Hundred Thousand British Pounds sterling )
which will be paid to you as the Beneficiary. For your information, I am
his account officer in our financial institution.
However, no outsider knows that he deposited the above fund in our
financial institution. I am contacting you to ask for your co-operation to
stand as the beneficiary of the fund, because it will amount to injustice
if I do not take this decisive step to secure this deposit and invest it
If nobody comes forward to claim the fund, it will be forfeited to the
Government, based on that, I am contacting you to assist me in making this
transaction a reality. I only have to arrange the proof documents and the
fund will be paid to you as the beneficiary. We are to share this money
between ourselves and also donate 10% to charity and the Haiti earthquake
victims if you agree and if you are interested in this offer, please
contact me immediately so we can proceed.
Note that this transaction is 100% risk free as I have maped out all the
modalities to follow and conclude it securely.
For details of this transaction and procedures, please do forward me your
Full Name, Age, Marital Status and Address, Phone/Mobile Number, Your
Company Name or Occupation, these info will enable me commence immediately
to secure all legal documents in your favor on your acceptance to fully
co-operate with me.
I await your urgent response to enable us start this project and nurture
it to reality.
Mr. Jason D. Nicholls
Berkeley Square London.