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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "certified bank draft" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- 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.
- 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: "Certified Bank Draf" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 7 Aug 2012 14:12:49 -0700
Subject: Your Bank Draft
Compliments of the day and God's blessings
I am glad to inform you that I have successfully concluded the transaction,the money transferred to London. It was transferred through the assistant of your country man Mr.Howard Ferraro who is a London base business man. Currently I am in London with him,my husband and children.
However,I did not forget you because you are the source of my success,you made me what I am now though you are not there to complet this project with me but I gave all the credit and thanks to you. I know it was not your fault or rather your wish to back up on me and the transaction ,I understand it is simply because of what you must have heard about my continent and her business opportunities. Actually there are still good ones for example myself.
In appreciate of your assistance I have mapped out as a compensation and wrote on your favor an International Certified Bank Draft worth of US$2,500,000.00.(Two Million,Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars Only) I left the Draft with my attorney Mr,Asico Richard my departure to London. I would like you therefore,to contact him on the below info so that he can mail it to you.
Attn: Mr,Asico Richard
PLEASE SEND TO HIM YOUR PERSONAL CONTACT
Contact my attorney in Benin-Republic so that he can release your Draft with code 988. I will stop here.Once again, thank you very much and remain blessed.
Mrs. Joyce Gimba