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:
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "certified bank draft" (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.
- 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: "Felix Ibru" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2012 23:49:03 -0500
Subject: Kindly accept this token as compensation.
How are you today? hope this email finds you in an excellent condition of life, my name is Mr. Felix Ibru (Formal Chairman of Committee on Petroleum Resources) you might have forgotten me but the fact is that you have attempted helping me in the past regarding a $35MillionUSD transfer which was not successful but I actually succeeded with the help of a British/London based business merchant who financed the whole transfer into his own account but I thought it very wise not to be ungrateful for your concern then, so I want to appreciate that great effort towards the transfer and due to your sincerity of purpose you showed during the caurse of the transfer though failed but I want to compensate you with this little percentage which is $2.5millionusd. Presently I no more lives in Nigeria but I have already signed and left a certified bank draft of $2.5millionusd on your name with my lawyer, so do contact him immediately.
Contact person: Barrister Williams Saraki.
Phone: +234 813 264 9826. (Please call him upon receipt of this email to you)
Again ensure to send your full contact details as stated below for verification and clarification of the true person payment is meant for.
Direct contact phone No:
Thanks for your acceptance to this little token as you are anticipated to act quickly and accordingly.
Mr. Felix Ibru
Phone: +44 704 575 3176