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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "transferred into your 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "WORLD BANK" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2012 21:20:13 +0200
Subject: Greeting From World Bank
The World Bank
P.O. Box 12629
Pretoria, Republic of South Africa
Phone Number: +27 737 958 309
We are sending you this message directly from World Bank Organization, based on the present meeting with the president of United States of America (President Barack Obama), This is to notify you that your Inheritance long over due funds has been approved for Release by President Barack Obama, he has issued a letter of authorization for the release and transferred of your Inheritance long over due fund valued US$3.5 Million (Three Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars Only) to be transferred into your bank account.
Note: the Letter of authorization has been signed by the President Barack Obama yesterday for the release of your long over due fund, to enable us proceed with the processing of your Inheritance long over due to be release and transferred into your bank account, you are to reconfirm your personal details such as listed below:
Your Full name..................
Your Contact address............
Your Telephone number...........
Your Fax number.................
Your Age and Sex................
Your Present Occupation.........
Above is the details needed from you to enable us proceed for the release and transferred of your long over due fund. You will be advice by our offshore paying bank in United States of America to present your banking details upon the receipt of your email.
Mr. Paul Scott
The World Bank
P.O. Box 12629