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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "to your nominated bank account" (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.
- +447031879995 (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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. Fletcher Hansdel." (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2012 01:57:03 -0000
Subject: RELEASE OF YOUR $7.5 OVERDUE PAYMENT (REF: NUMBER: 112)
From The Desk of the Chairman
Dr. Fletcher Hansdel
Committee on Debts & unsettled payments
UNO & African Development Banks.
RELEASE OF YOUR $7.5 OVERDUE PAYMENT
I hereby wish to notify you that Your overdue payment of $7.5M would be brought
to you cash or you would be invited to come down to Africa to claim your unpaid fund.
If you are not comfortable with this means then you may receive your funds via bank
transfer to your account or an ATM CARD will be sent to you with your money loaded inside.
We are very sorry for the delay and inconvenience that this might have cost you.
The management & board of trustees of this bank wish you to fill out the
transfer form with your contact details and your direct phone number also
with your banking information for the immediate processing of the legal
document that will enable us carry out the transfer of your fund
successfully to your nominated bank account or your contact address
without any further delay.
Kindly contact your payment and processing officer:
Rev. Xavier Francis
As soon as he receive this , he will open a claims file for you and present to the
authorities concerned to endorse for your payment. Be notified that all documents
has been presented and your payment is approved.
With kind regards,i look forward to serving you better.
Dr. Fletcher Hansdel.