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:
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "email@example.com" (this email address looks like addresses used in "ATM SWIFT card" 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.
- 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 (AOL Instant Messenger; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "© Mrs Sarah Sosan Onigbongbo" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 5 Dec 2012 21:44:01 -0500
Subject: SORRY FOR THE DELAY;
Attn: Value Attendant,
The Senate House wish to officially inform for the month of December 2012,
that your ATM CARD (ATM Card Number; 4278763100030014) has been accredited
with your favor. Your Personal Identification Number is 577.
The ATM Card Value is $6.8MILLION USD. You are advice to contact Mr. Goodluck
W. Taylor via Email:(firstname.lastname@example.org) with the following
Please you are advice to call for more information on how to receive your ATM
CARD with this direct office cell number: +234-802503 9890
Mrs Sarah Sosan Onigbongbo LCDA
Deputy Governor Of Lagos State