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:
- "your payment is being processed" (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)
- "million united states 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)
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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 Group <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 23 Jun 2012 18:55:28 -0400
Subject: YOUR FUND TRANSFER NOTIFICATION
World Bank Group Nigeria
Address: Zaria street, Abuja
Postal Address: P.M.B 0187, Garki Abuja
I Am Mr. Ben Peter, Bill and Exchange Manager
I am Mr. Ben peter, bill and exchange manager/ secretary general, head of
the world bank finance group, Nigeria branch, set up to fight against scam
and fraudulent activities worldwide. This group is responsible for
investigating the legitimacy of unpaid contract, inheritance and lotto
winning claims by companies and individuals and directs the paying
authorities (banks) worldwide to make immediately payment of verified
claims to the beneficiaries without further delay.
You are being legally contacted regarding the release of your long awaited
fund. After a detailed review of your file, the world bank group has
mandated that your fund the sum of $27 million united states dollars)
should be release immediately after the confirmation of the transfer fee
which is $580,
and we also write to let you know that your fund has been
approved in your favor by the president Dr. Good luck Jonathan via my desk.
I therefore wish to inform you that your payment is being processed and
will be released to you as soon as you respond to this letter.
Please re-confirm to us the following:
1. Your full name:
2. Your country:
3. Your occupation:
4. Your age:
6. Your cell phone:
7. A Passport By Attach or Driver's License
Note that the above fund has been cleared from terrorist or fraud related
Thanks for your cooperation.
Mr. Ben peter