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:
- 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)
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "united state of america" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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 (Yahoo, Japan; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Diana May <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 31 May 2012 22:33:46 +0200
Subject: Contact Mr Patrick Shawn For Your A T M Master Card
How are you today? I hope this mail meets you in a perfect condition.I am using this opportunity to thank you for your great effort to our unfinished transaction and transfer of your A.T.M Master Card, am sorry for presenting and using someone else in your name to get this transaction successfull.Due to logistic reasons and your inconsistance to the other best known to you.Right now, I want to inform you that I have successfully cleared your A.T.M Master Card to someone else account who was capable of assisting me in this great venture that have been over and successfull.
Due to your effort, sincerity, courage and trustworthiness you showed at the course of the transaction I want to compensate you and show my gratitude to you with the sum of $1,300,000 (One Million Three Hundred Thousand United State Of America Dollars). I have authorized my personal secretary Mr.Patrick Shawn where I deposited the money to issue you your A.T.M Master Card, cashable in any A.T.M Machine in your country. My dear friend I will like you to contact Mr.Patrick Shawn for the collection of your A.T.M Master Card.
His name and contact address is as follows:
Name: Mr.Patrick Shawn
Contact Mr.Patrick Shawn At the moment,Finally remember that I have forwarded instructions to Mr.Patrick Shawn on your behalf to send the A.T.M Master Card of $1,300,000 (One Million Three Hundred Thousand United State Of America Dollars) to you as soon as you contact him without delay.Please I will like you to accept this token with good faith as this is from the bottom of my heart.
Mrs Diana May