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)
- "money laundering" ("anti-terrorist", "anti-money laundering" or "drug-free" certificates are a common way for criminals in fake lottery scams and other Advance Fee scams to get you to send money to them. There are no such certificates in the real banking world. )
- "you are advice to " (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 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Dr Bello Usman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2012 20:31:27 +0800 (CST)
Subject: FROM UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION UNIT !!!!!!!!!
WISH TO INFORM YOU THAT YOUR OVERDUE PAYMENT HAS BE SCHEDULED TO PAY TO
YOU THROUGH CERTIFIED ATM CARD WHICH YOU WILL BE ONLY REQUIRED TO
PROCEED TO ANY ATM CASH POINT TO WITHDRAW $20,000 PER DAY TILL YOUR
COMPLETE PAYMENT FUND OF 4.5MILLION USD ARE COMPLETED.
DEVELOPMENT WAS AS RESULT OF NEW PAYMENT POLICY REVOLUTION OF 2010
CARRY OUT BY THE WORLD FINANCIAL BODY IN COLLABORATION WITH WORLD BANK
AUDIT UNIT AND UNITED NATIONS POLICY MAKER UNIT UNDER WORLD BANK NEW
YEAR PAYMENT CONSTITUTION.
THIS EFFORT IS TO HELP THE
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND RESTRICT AND MONITOR EVERY INTERNATIONAL
TRANSACTION TO AVOID MONEY LAUNDERING ACTIVITIES AND WILL HELP US TO
FIGHT AGAINST FRAUDULENT ACTIVITIES FROM SCAM EXPERTS.
FURTHERMORE YOU ARE ADVICE TO RECONFIRM YOU BILLING ADDRESS INCLUDE YOUR FULL NAME AND DIRECT CONTACT TELEPHONE
NUMBER TO THE OCEANIC BANK FOR THE ISSUANCE CERTIFIED ATM CREDIT CARD,
CONTACT THEN WITH THE BELOW INFORMATION
NAME: REV BENSON WOOD.
TEL: +229 97 031 337.
MY BEST REGARDS,
DR BELLO USMAN.