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:
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "my direct telephone number" (a "direct line" in a scam usually means an untraceable mobile phone number used by a scammer in an internet cafe, a redirection service number that forwards to a mobile or a free voicemailbox in a different country.)
- 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.
- +447035937852 (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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "email@example.com" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 1 Jul 2012 17:49:49 +0700
Subject: TRANSFER REFERENCE
Payment Purpose: Inheritance/Contract Fund Release
Payment Value: 1,000,000.00 Great British Pounds
Authorized Paying Bank: Alpha Bank of Saulberg (ABS).
Transaction Reference Code: ABS/KTT/27890/0000/010
My name is Dr Ted Shanon. I am the newly appointed Director Alpha Bank of Saulberg London UK
and the 10th Director of the Bank. I assumed duty as Director on June 6, 2012 at the Bank's
Corporate Head Office in London
following the confirmation of my nomination, however, acting in my capacity as the newly-appointed Director, I
have been mandated by the International Credit Settlement department of IMF /UN to
check through the statutory disk of every payment pending during the last
quarter of the year. Hence, your payment file has been forwarded to my desk for
final approval. Therefore, after vetting and verification about the source and
origin of your funds, I approved 100% the sum of 1,000,000.00 Great British
Pounds part payment for immediate transfer to your account.
For this reason, your payment has been rightfully approved and will be paid out
directly into your bank account via "automatic swift transfer" from our
Electronic transfer unit. Already, all transfer processing has been concluded in
line with the new Payment Policy/guideline.
However, on the note of receiving your funds, you are requested to
forward your personal details/bank account information as below to the payment committee for necessary action. ATT: VERA CRUZ. EMAIL:firstname.lastname@example.org
PERSONAL MOBILE / TELEPHONE NUMBER:
NAME OF NEXT OF KIN:
ADDRESS OF NEXT OF KIN:
I am expecting to receive your earliest reply and details of your receiving
bank account as well as a copy of any of your available ID proof (National ID
card, Voter's ID, Driver's license, PAN card or any recognized company/working
ID card) for identification. Your fund will be transferred to your bank account
details provided within 4 hours after we receive it. You can call me for
updates, My direct telephone number is +447035937852
DR. Ted Shanon
Director, Alpha Bank of Saulberg