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:
- "into your nominated bank account" (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)
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "fbi washington" (This name is often mentioned in money recovery scams (re-scam): the real FBI will not tell you to contact some email address. If you are in any doubt, contact an FBI field office via www.fbi.gov. )
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "British Finance Monitoring Unit." (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 16 May 2013 19:12:08 -0500
Subject: (Attn) Your Payment Release Order
FROM: MADAME CHRISTINE LAGARDE
ASSISTANT MANAGING DIRECTOR: BRITISH FINANCE MONITORING UNIT/
UNITED STATE FBI WASHINGTON DC.
This letter is from British Finance Monitoring Unit newly established by the World Financial Service Authority
United States Of America in conjunction with United Nations/United Kingdom.This body was set up to discover
an unpaid fund being owed to Governments or Individuals all over the world through Contract Payment,Inheritance
and Lottery Winning Prize Awards.
It will interest you to know that we have discovered an unpaid/unclaimed funds of (Seven Million Five Hundred
Thousand United States Dollars) US$7.5M in favour of your name and a mandate has been given to this
body British Finance Monitoring Unit to ensure that this fund is release to you without delay. Note that a special
payment arrangement has been made to deliver this fund to you through diplomatic means of payment or
Alternatively come in person to any of our payment offices in Europe, America or Asia. It can also be transfer
into your nominated bank account Via KTT.
You are advised to furnish this office with your contact information to enable us open up communication with
you regarding the release of your fund immediately.
Your Full Name _________________
Your Company and Home Address: _____________________________
Name of City of Residence: ____________________
Date of Birth (Day/Month/Year): ____________________
Direct Telephone Number/Fax:_____________________
Your Age/Occupation: ______________________________________
Your Identification Like Passport/ID CARD: _____________________
Contact Person: DR DENNIS MAXWELL
Reply To: email@example.com
MADAME CHRISTINE LAGARDE
Assistant Managing Director: British Finance Monitoring Unit.