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:
- "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)
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "cheques " (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "DR. MATHEW AIYIM" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 20 May 2013 13:13:01 +0200
Subject: REPLY ASAP!!!
THIS EMAIL IS BEEN SENT TO YOU IN RESPECT OF YOUR 10 MILLION UNITED STATE DOLLARS UNCLAIMED FUND WHICH HAS BEEN LYING IN OUR BANK FOR THE PAST YEARS. WE HAVE BEEN INSTRUCTED BY THE CONCERN AUTHORITY TO HAVE YOUR FUND RELEASE PROCESS COMPLETED OTHERWISE THE FUND WILL BE DECLARED UNSERVICEALBE THAT IS WHY I HAVE DECIDED TO CONTACT YOU TO KNOW THE REASON WHY YOU HAVEN'T LAID CLAIM TO YOUR FUND. OUR BANK IS READY AND WILLING TO RELEASE YOUR FUND IMMEDIATELY BECAUSE THE WORLD BANK, UNITED NATION INCLUDING THE UNITED STATE GOVERNMENT HAVE SUCCESSFULLY PASSED A MANDATE TO ALL AFRICAN BANKS TO BOOST THIS EXERCISE OF CLEARING ALL FOREIGN DEBTS OWED TO FOREIGNERS AND OTHER INDIVIDUALS.
YOU SHOULD ADVISE US ON HOW YOU WANT TO RECEIVE YOUR PAYMENT. WE HAVE ABOUT THREE (3) METHODS OF PAYMENT WHICH ARE BY.
1. DIRECT BANK TO BANK WIRE TRANSFER. (You shall be requested to forward your current bank account co-ordinates to receive your funds).
2. CHEQUES OR BANK DRAFTS. (You shall be required to forward an address where you want to receive your Cheque).
3. ISSUING YOU AN ATM CARD. (We will be issuing you a custom pin based ATM card which you shall use to withdraw your fund in any ATM machine in your country but the maximum to withdraw is One Hundred and Fifty Thousand United State Dollars par day).
TO START PROCESSING THE RELEASE OF YOUR FUND, YOU ARE ADVISED TO RECONFIRM YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION INCLUDING YOUR CONTACT DETAILS AND ANY VALID IDENTITY FOR DOCUMENTATION AND ALSO CHOSE ONE OUT OF THE THREE ABOVE OPTIONS.
NOTE: YOU ARE ADVICE TO KEEP/TREAT THIS MASSAGE VERY CONFIDENTIAL AND ALSO CEASE FURTHER COMMUNICATION WITH ANYBODY REGARDING THIS TRANSACTION TO AVOID COMPLICATION.
DR. MATHEW AIYIM