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:
- ",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. )
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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: "Felix Ibru" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2012 18:56:56 -0400
Subject: Contact Mr. James Ibe with this email for your payment at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello my good friend.
My name is Felix Ibru, I'm writing to inform you that our multimillion dollar transfer deal has been successfully done by the assistance of another partner from India who financed the transaction to a logical conclusion but as I have promised to compensate you, I have vowed never to forget your great efforts, sincerity of purpose and concerns which you shown during the course of the transaction. So I have decided to show my appreciation with the sum of $1,500,000.00USDollars being a Certified Bank Draft payable in your name at any bank of your choice and you are to contact Mr. James Ibe of Global Express Delivery Services where I have registered the bank draft for delivery to you, so request for the delivery immediately.
Contact Person: Mr. James Ibe
Mobile Phone: +234 809 440 9976.
As said above, I have authorized the Delivery Company to release the Draft to you but this must be only upon your contact with them and with the confirmation of your as stated below. Also their delivery fee has been paid but the company has said you will have to pay them their safe keeping and insurance coverage of the bank draft before the delivery can commence, so contact the company by name and email address as stated above.
Direct or personal phone number:
Please accept this token in good faith as this is from the bottom of my heart for your past effort trying to help me and I also hope to hear sooner from you as you receive this bank draft.
Thanks and God bless you.