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)
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand us 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)
- ",500,000" (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 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: "Foreign Debt Settlement Committee, UK" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2012 08:59:16 -0800
Subject: From Mrs Lucy James
Office Of the Prime Minister
10 Downing Street,
London, SW1A 2AA
Foreign Reserve Department,
Re: Code Number 511
Sequel to the taking over of the new British Prime Minister David Cameron, be informed that he has instructed that all outstanding foreign debt accruing from INHERITANCE FUNDS, FUNDS TRAPPED IN LOCAL AND FOREIGN BANKS, SCAM VICTIMS and its associated cases should be compensated immediately through this office. We discovered that you were mislead by some officers who took advantage of you as a result of demanding one payment after another from you instead of releasing your funds to you.
You are warned to stop further communication with anybody in respect of your payment with effect from today if you wish to receive your fund successfully without further delay. Your payment file is right here with us and we have are set to complete your payment immediately as instructed by Prime Minister David Cameron and ministry of internal affair, who has approved the sum of $500,000.000.00 (Five Hundred Million United States Dollar Only), to be shared among the affected scam victims around the globe.
Note: that we have been mandated to issue out $10,500,000.00 (Ten Million, Five Hundred Thousand US Dollars Only) as a part payment to you for this fiscal year 2012 that will be paid through Bank of England, London UK - VISA CORPORATE ATM CARD.if you will like to receive your fund this week let us know immediately by contacting
Name: Mr.Allen Mohammed
Bank of England
London EC2R 8AH .
NOTE: Inform Mr. Peter William that you received a message from the Prime Minister's Office to send you your ATM CARD and PIN NUMBER you will use in withdrawing your funds. Please make sure you send her the information below
1. Full names:
5. Email address...
10. Telephone number...
11. Copy Of Int'l Passport, Drivers License, Or Any Valid Id Card.
Note that you will have to take care of the shipment charges for the delivery of your Atm card to your address. The cost will be informed to you by Mrs. Catherine Brown and the method in which you are to send the shipment charge to her will be discussed by both of you. Please do not expect them or even ask them to conduct any kind of deduction prior to sending you the ATM card.
As discussed and agreed, i will like you to understand that the charges cannot be deducted from your fund because it has been endorsed by both the UK and American government. You shall receive $10,500,000.00. No more, no less.
I am very sorry for the delay you have gone through in the past years. This office was obliged to intervene in this matter after receiving a notice from the logistics department of the Bank of England regarding the irregularities on the release of your funds to you.
While we advise you to stop further communication with anybody with effect from today no matter what the person might claim to be so that you don't lost your hard earned money to impostors again.
We hereby issue you our code of conduct, which is (511) so you have to indicate this code when contacting us by using it as your subject because of impostors.
Mrs Lucy James
Foreign Debt Settlement Committee, UK