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:
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "cheque " (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.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- +447024080484 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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.
- email@example.com (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "U.N. COMPENSATION COMMISSION" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2011 04:30:57 +0800
Subject: UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION UNIT!!!
How are you today? Hope all is well with you and family?, You may not understand why this mail came to you. We have been having a meeting for the passed 7 months which ended 4 days ago with the secretary to the UNITED NATIONS Ban Ki-moon. This email is to all the people that have been scammed in any part of the world, the UNITED NATIONS have agreed to compensate them with the sum of $800,000 USD EACH. This includes every foreign contractors, inheritance, lottery that may have no received their contract sum, and people that have had an unfinished transaction or international businesses that failed due to Government problems or scammers etc.
We found your name in our list and that is why we are contacting you, this have been agreed upon and have been signed.You are advised to contact Mr Joseph Scott of our paying center in London, United Kingdom, as he is our representative in Nigeria, contact him immediately for your Cheque / International Bank Draft of $800,000 USD, this funds are in a Bank Draft for security purpose ok? so he will send it to you and you can clear it in any bank of your choice.
1) YOUR FULL NAME:
2) ADDRESS, CITY, STATE AND COUNTRY:
3) PERSONAL CELL PHONE AND FAX:
4) OCCUPATION, AGE AND MARITAL STATUS:
5) COPY OF YOUR INT'L PASSPORT/DRIVERS LICENSE FOR PROPER IDENTIFICATION:
Note: Your Personal Contact/Communication Code With BOA Is (011), You Are Advised To Send Your Full Information To Mr Joseph Scott, International Remittance Director Headed By Joseph Scott And Make Sure You Speak With Him, With Your New Payment Code For The Release Of Your Payment And Send To Her All Your Information Now.
Contact Barrister Joseph Scott immediately for your Cheque:
Person to Contact: Barrister Joseph Scott.
Un Agent Officer (LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM).
Thanks and God bless you and your family. Hoping to hear from you as soon as you cash your Bank Draft.
Making the world a better place.
General Jon Wells