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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "million united states dollars" (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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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.
- +447024032995 (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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Andrew Dey" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2012 10:08:06 +0100
Subject: Re Notice
Barclay Bank London
Foreign Head of Operations Department
Registered Office: 1 Churchill Place,
London E14 5HP.United Kingdom
This is to inform you that the Barclays Bank London has received an irrevocable payment instruction order form the World Bank instructing this institution to debit their Reserve Trust Account and credit you with the sum of $10,000,000.00 (Ten Million United States Dollars Only) due to you as your inheritance benefit. With a payment code: WEX/2054/XXVI-175076/VOL IV
This decision was made by the recent meeting of World Bank based on the monetary restriction policy that was introduced by the United States Government and International Monetary Fund (IMF) on funds emanating from Africa, Asia and Middle East.
Prior to this, we have also received a counter instruction from your Lawyer/partner that the said funds should be credited to the account stated below:
BENEFICIARY BANK AND ADDRESS
201 SOUTH WATER STREET
ACCOUNT NUMBER: 4126330111
SORT CODE: 123070760
PURPOSE OF PAYMENT: INHERITANCE
We urge you to immediately confirm this instruction or after 24hours form now the Barclay bank will effect transfer earnestly to the above stated account and discharge our duties accordingly.
Finally, feel free to reach me on the email address stated for confirmation. Email:email@example.com
Foreign Head of Operations
Barclays Bank London