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:
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "clearance fee" (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. )
- "fund beneficiary" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. James Anderson" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2011 20:54:15 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: Urgent Information (Transfer Details)
From: Dr. James Anderson
Head of United Nations Under-Secretary-
General for Internal Oversight Services
Dear Fund Beneficiary,
This is to inform you that I came to Nigeria today from London. Sequel to complaints from the FBI and other Security agencies in Asia, Europe, South America, USA etc, against the Federal Government of Nigeria and the British Government for the high rate of scam activities going on in these two nations, I have met with President Good luck Jonathan of Nigeria who informed me that he has been trying his best to make sure you receive your fund in your account.
Right now, as directed by our secretary general Mr. Ban Ki-Moon,the British & Nigeria governments, We have agreed to waive all your clearance fees/Charges and effect payment of your fund $10.5M into your account without delay.
Sincerely, you are a lucky person because I have just discovered that some top Nigerian and British Government Officials are interested in your fund and they are working in collaboration with One Richard Greeves from USA to frustrate you and divert your fund into their personal account. I will like you to call me with my number +234-807-388-44-58 call as soon as you received this mail. You can as well send send your payment informationâs for verifications.
I have a very limited time to stay in Nigeria so would like you to urgently respond to this message for me to advise you on how best to confirm the fund in your account within the next 72 hours.
Dr. James Anderson
United Nations Under-Secretary
General for Internal Oversight
Cell Phone +234-807-388-44-58