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:
- "await your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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.
- +447023058751 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2012 00:28:10 +0100
Subject: FBI ALERT!!!CONTACT THE BANK OF ENGLAND
ROBERT S. MUELLERIII
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FBI
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION FBI .WASHINGTON D.C.
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION SEEKING TO WIRETAP
The Federal bureau of investigation (FBI) Washington,D.C. hereby informed you that we have been notified of your present transaction of $22.5m with the Bank.We have verified the transaction and its legitimate.Its important you contact the Bank of England with immidiate effect and secure the Transfer Certificate for you to be able to receive the $22.5m/Once you secure the certificate,the $22.5m will be available in your account within 24hrs.Attached is the scan copy of my identification.
You are to contact the Bank with the below address:
Bank of England
London EC2R 8AH
Do contact them immidiately and secure the Transfer Cetificate.
The Transaction duly verified and confirmed.
Congratulations in advance.
Thank you very much for your anticipated co-operation in advance as we earnestly await your urgent response to this matter.
Best Regards, ROBERT S. MUELLERIII
Federal Bureau of Investigation
J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue,
NW Washington, D.C.