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:
- "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)
- 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.
- +447031983411 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: Gavin Hannigan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2013 01:01:49 -0800
Subject: URGENT NOTICE 2013.
Santander Private Banking,
19-21 Commercial Street, St. Helier,
Jersey, JE4 8XG,
After a serious thought, I decided to reach you directly and
personally because I do not have anything against you, but your
partners. I am a private banking officer at Santander Private Banking,
London. Sometime in the past, your partners approached me through a
friend of mine who works with Her Majestys Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
here and requested that I assist them conclude a money transfer deal
that has to do with inheritance and contract payment. They gave me
your personal contact and bank details and told me to put them into
our computing system so that it will appear that you are one of the
contractors/next-of-kin that has been cleared for payment.
According to them, they wanted to use this strategy to transfer a huge
amount of United States Dollars which they accumulated through
inflated contract awards and the money has been floating in the
financial system since the original contractors has been paid so they
wanted to use your account to transfer the surplus. We agreed that
once I do this they would give me US$100,000.00 and give me another
US$100,000.00 when I release the fund to your account. When they saw
that I have done it and your name has been approved among the list of
those to be paid, instead of giving me the agreed deposit of
US$100,000.00, they started avoiding me and resorted to threats. I
immediately deleted the transfer code that is only known to me because
of my position, and released other contractors fund without yours.
They became angry when they saw that their threat did not work, and
they started bribing other officials to get another approval to
transfer the money to you without success. I want you know that I am
100% responsible for the delay and obstructions because of their
breach of agreement. If you doubt what I have just told you, pay any
amount they will ask you to pay now, after a short time they will come
up with another reason to pay again and it goes on and on. They are
simply unable to go through the right channels and procedure. Now if
you want us to work together, these are my conditions.
1. I will have 30% of the money because it is only the two of us left for now.
2. You will assist me open an account in your country or any other
place of my choice where I will pay in my own share of 30%.
3. As you can see, it will be useless and mere waste of time and money
if you continue with any other person, so we will conclude this
transaction with utmost secrecy with the below telephone number and
email address only.
4. You will provide me with your private telephone, mobile and fax
numbers as well as email address to facilitate easy communication
between you and I only.
If these conditions are acceptable to you, contact me as soon as
possible to let us finalize so that I will fax to you our official KTT
wire transfer form to complete and I will release the money to your
account after due protocols has been observed. But if you are not
interested, I advice you to forget the fund as it will be transferred
into our consolidated national reserve.