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)
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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. )
- 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 (O2, Poland; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "MR. ALEX IKEM" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 19 May 2013 09:11:42 -0500
Subject: Certified Bank Draft For You
Hello my good friend.
This is Alex Ikem your friend and formal business associate, I want to inform you that our multi million dollar business has been concluded with the assistance of another partner from India who financed the transaction to a logical conclusion, and like I promised, I will never forget your great efforts, sincerity and trust worthiness you shown me during the course of the transaction.
I want to show my appreciation in your past efforts by raising sum of US$1.500, 000.00 certified international bank draft payable in your name at int'l bank in the world, My dear friend I will like you to contact my Secretary in charge of my office now Mr. Mr. Mark Edward on his below direct contact for collection of your bank draft.
Name: MR. Mark Edward
I authorized him to release the Certified Bank Draft to you whenever you ask him for it. At this moment, I'm very busy here in India for my investment project with new partner. So please contact Mr. Mark and don't forget to send him your following information to enable him ship your bank draft to you without further delay as I instructed.
Please accept this token with good faith as this is from the bottom of my heart for your past effort in helping me. Hoping to hear from you sooner as you receive your bank draft
Thanks and God bless you.
I wish you best of luck