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:
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- 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.
- +447035984714 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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: Dr.Clemon Watson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 1 May 2012 18:53:38 +0100
Subject: Ref: OVERDUE PAYMENT
WORLD BANK TEAM ON DEBT PAYMENT
Thread needle Street GB-London
EC2R 8AH United Kingdom
Ref: OVERDUE PAYMENT,
Following the urgent signal received from BANK OF AMERICA (BOA)/BANK
OF ENGLAND (BOE) and AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (ADB) concerning your long overdue payment, be informed that an accredited independent financial consultant has been assigned by the World Bank Team to effect the release of your payment as soon as all documentations have been completed.
During the auditing and vetting of your files it was discovered from the records of outstanding payment that yours has been delayed by some fraudulent officials / your representatives from the origin of your fund. In line with the official instruction issued after our meeting with the board of Directors held on Friday 17th February 2012, be informed that you are among the listed BENEFICIARIES to receive US$12.5M.
You are therefore required to fill the form below to ascertain your status as the beneficiary and also to enable us process your payment.
DATE OF BIRTH:
Dr. Clemon Watson
Group Head (World Bank Team)