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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million united state 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)
- "million 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "cheque " (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. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Williams George" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 19 May 2013 07:40:40 -0700
Subject: Dear ........,
How are you doing?
Please if you're not interested in this please do Please if you're not interested in this please do not reply okay, if you're interested read with your understanding and get back to us if you're interested!ot reply okay, if you're interested read with your understanding and get back to us if you're interested!
Its been a long time my dear, I was able to finish the business ,
through the help of a man from Hong Kong Mr Kong-sang Ling, he used
your name to finish the business. This man was brought by red cross
lady to finalize this business in Nigeria Africa.
I have now my money in my account in United State , and Mr Ling has
collected his own share regards to the business.
But your share which was mapped out for you is $3.5 Million Dollars ,
Mr Ling assisted us to send the money to you through Cheque.
He has drafted a Cheque of $3.5 Million United State Dollars for you ,
your name bears the beneficiary to cash the money as soon as you
receive the cheque.
He said as soon as you receive the cheque we let him know to tell you
who to meet in the bank for immediate payment.
So now contact this lady in Nigeria who is the person with your Cheque
, this lady will post this cheque to you through speed posting for you
to receive and collect your cash.
Here below the lady contact,
Name : Mrs Marylin McDonald
Address : 27 maitama sule street Abuja Nigeria.
email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Please contact her now say your name as she is expecting your contact
as said by Mr Ling. The woman was only woman Mr Ling trusted as he
said to give her the Cheque for posting.
Mr Ling will help you get the cash as soon as you receive the cheque.
Good day my dear friend and brother.