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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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)
- "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)
- "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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "DR. GEORGE ADAMS" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 19 May 2013 12:50:06 -0000
Subject: PLS. REACH REV. VAL FOR YOUR CHEQUE
I am obliged to inform you that I have succeeded in receiving the funds valued $12.5M through the help of my new business partner from Bulgaria. I have already left to meet him for our investment.
Meanwhile, I do not forget your past effort though it did not workout with you. I deem it necessary to issue a cheque Valued one Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars only (US$1.5M) which can be collected at any bank of choice from ZENITH BANK PLC in your favor as your compensation for your past effort even though it did not workout.
I did this simply to show appreciation for your kind support and assistance even though we could not succeed due to negative information which you received at the time about the transaction was about to be concluded. Presently, I am in Sofia, Bulgaria for investment projects with my own share on the advice of my new partner.
In the light of the above, you are therefore advised to contact my Secretary, Rev. Valentin Justin and do ask him for your Cheque valued US$1.5M.
Name: Rev. Valentin Justin
Please do inform me as soon as you receive it so that we can share the joy together after all the suffering at that time. At the moment, I am very busy here in Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria because of the investment projects.
So feel free to get in touch with him to send the cheque to you without further delay.
With My Best Regards,