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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "dear friend" (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)
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "cheque " (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 fake lottery scam. Consider the following facts about real lotteries:
- They don't notify winners by email.
- You can't win without first buying a lottery ticket.
- They don't randomly select email addresses to award prizes to.
- They don't use free email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) to communicate with you.
- They don't tell you to call a mobile phone number.
- They don't tell you to keep your winnings secret.
- They will never ask a winner to pay any fees to receive a prize!
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: (sent from abused email account)
Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2012 15:13:33 +0100
Subject: Dear Friend,
How are you today? Hope all is well with you and your family? I hope this
mail meets you in a perfect condition.
I am happy to inform you about my success in getting your winning funds
under the co-operation of a new partner from ASIA .Presently I'm in ASIA
CHINA for investment projects with my own share of
the total sum. Meanwhile, I did not forget your past efforts and attempts
to get your winnings despite that it failed somehow.
Now contact my secretary in Abuja his name is MR. Erick Anayo Find below
his contact information.
COMPENSATION HEAD OFFICE
CONTACT AGENT: MR. ERICK ANAYO
Ask him to send you the total $500.000.00 (FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND US
DOLLARS) certified bank Cheque, which I raised in your favor for your
compensation for all the past efforts and attempt in this matter. I
appreciated your efforts at that time very much. So feel free and get in
touch with my secretary and give him your address where to send the draft
to you and your full information for him to know you are realy the
Fill this form and send him to enable me dispatch your check at once.
(1) Your full name- -----------
(2) Your address -------------
(3) Your telephone number------------
(5) Company?s name------------
(6) Company?s address------------
Please do let me know immediately you receive the Cheque to enable us
share the joy after all the sufferness at that time.
In the moment,I'm very busy here because of the investment projects,
which the new partner and me are having at hand,finally, remember that I
had forwarded instruction to the secretary on your behalf to Receive that
money. So feel free to get in touch with him (Mr.Erick Anayo )without any
Thanks and God bless you and your family.
Mrs. Blessing Charles.
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