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:
- "million american 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)
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "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.
- 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: "Mr. Steve Franklin" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2012 13:51:49 -0400
Subject: YOUR CERTIFIED BANK DRAFT OF USD 5 MILLION .
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA MINISTRY OF FINANCE
Our Ref: NNC/MM/04/01
Your Ref: ..............................
YOUR CERTIFIED BANK DRAFT OF USD 5 MILLION
I am Mr. Steve Fraklin from the Federal Ministry of Finance, I am writing you this mail to inform you about the compensation to be made by the Federal government of Nigeria and some other bodies like the Nigeria National Petroleum Co-orperation (NNPC), Dagote Group of Companies (DGC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Federal Ministry of Finance, due to the scam the citizens of Nigeria has done on the internet.
The selection of people to be compensated will be made randomly via internet, so if you luckily receive this mail that means you have been selected among the lucky ones to receive the sum of FIVE MILLION AMERICAN DOLLARS (5,000000.00) CERTIFIED BANK DRAFT.
Note that all necessary documentation to make the withdrawal of the fund legal and free from any breach of the law has been made by the Federal government of Nigeria, all you have to do now is to contact me with the following information's for claim of fund.
YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION
YOUR FULL NAME:
YOUR DIRECT PHONE NUMBER:
For further information you can contact me via my private contact information:
NAME: Mr. Steve Fraklin
I will advise you make sure your fund gets to you through the normal process to avoid any problem in future, so please you have to abide to all information's as you are been directed.
Mr. Steve Fraklin.