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)
- "necessary legal documents" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "greater london" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "transferred into your 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)
- "million pounds" (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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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.
- +447042069006 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr.Terry Anderson" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 08 Jul 2013 23:48:25 +0600
Subject: Dr.Terry Anderson
>From .Dr.Terry Anderson
I am Dr.Terry Anderson from Brondesbury,North West London, here in
England. I work for UBS INVESTMENT Bank London branch. I am writing you
from my office that will be of an immense benefit for both of us. In my
department, being a member of the Group Executive Com-mittee and Chief Risk
Officer (Greater London Regional Office), I discovered an abandoned sum of
Â£15 Million Great British Pounds Sterling (Fifteen Million Great British
Pounds) in an account that belongs to one of our foreign customers Late Mr.
Steve Allen who unfortunately lost his life in a car accident including his
wife and only daughter.
The choice of contacting you is aroused from the geographical nature of
where you live, particularly due to the sensitivity of this transaction.
The Bank officials have been waiting for any of the relatives to come-up
for this claim but nobody has done that. I personally have been
unsuccessful in locating the relatives for 4 years now, I seek your consent
to present you as the next of kin /Will Beneficiary to the deceased of this
fund so that the proceeds of this account valued at Â£15 Million Pounds will
be transferred into your bank account as the next of kin to Late Mr. Steve
This will be disbursed or shared in these percentages, 60% for me and 40%
to you. I have secured all necessary legal documents that will be used to
back up this claim we are making. All I need to do is to fill in your names
to the documents and legalize it in the court here to prove you as the
legitimate beneficiary of the fund.
All I require now is your honest Co-operation, Confidentiality and Trust
to enable us sees this transaction through. I guarantee you that this will
be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any
breach of the law. I want you to understand that I have worked in this bank
for 17 years, and I have been able to secure all legal documents to enable
you inherit this fund
Please provide me the following: as we have few days to run it through
this is very URGENT PLEASE.
1. Full Name
2. Your Direct Mobile Number
3. Youâre Contact Address
4. Date of Birth
Having gone through a methodical search, I decided to contact you hoping
that you will find this deal interesting. Please on your confirmation of
this message and indicating your interest I will furnish you with more
information. Endeavor to let me know your decision as soon as possible.
ubs investment bank plc