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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "money laundering" ("anti-terrorist", "anti-money laundering" or "drug-free" certificates are a common way for criminals in fake lottery scams and other Advance Fee scams to get you to send money to them. There are no such certificates in the real banking world. )
- "western union" (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. )
- "deduct your 10%" (Beware of any scheme that involves depositing checks or money orders or receiving wire transfers in your bank account and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere, for a percentage of 5-15% of the total. Such offers are *always* fraudulent and you will be liable for the entire amount when the checks, money orders or wire transfers turn out to be fraudulent. Any money already forwarded comes out of *your* pocket then. )
- "here in united kingdom" (this email uses bad English)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "money order " (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. )
- "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. )
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a company representative scam. This type of job offer scam involves the cashing of fake checks and money orders. It could expose you to losses of tens of thousands of dollars as well as to the risk of criminal prosecution and (in some cases) imprisonment.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr John Moses" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2013 09:56:32 -0700
Subject: URGENT RESPONSE NEEDED
My name is John Moses , Managing Director of Diamond Bead Gold Line INC Alternative Jewelries Ltd. Diamond Bead Gold Line INC is an alternative jewelry, body art and bead distributor, who supplies to industries in the UK & worldwide,Our aim is to supply quality jewelry competitively priced coupled with a highly efficient service.
However,we always faced with difficulties when it comes to selling Jewels to Americans, because they always offer to pay with a US MONEY ORDER/CERTIFIED CHEQUE, which is very difficult for us to cash here in United Kingdom,As a result I am looking for a representative in the states who will be working for me as a part-time Executive Trustee and I am willing to pay 10% on every transaction, never the less this wouldn't affect your present state of work, someone trust worthy who would help us receive payments from our clients in the united states.The cost of coming to the state and getting payments is very high, we are working on setting up a branch in the state,but for now we need a representative in the United State who will be handling this. These payments could be in MONEY ORDER/CHEQUE and they would come to you in your name, so all you need do is to cash them deduct your 10% and wire the funds left, as you will be instructed But one major problem I'll have is trust as unscrupulous individuals have burned
1. Receive payments from Customers
2. Cash Payments at your bank
3. Deduct 10%, which will be your percentage/pay on Payment processed.
4. Forward balance after deduction of percentage/pay to any of the
offices you will be contacted to send payment to,
It wouldn't cost you any UPFRONT CHARGES, you are to receive payments which will be sent to you via FedEx courier services from my customers,which would come in form of a MONEY ORDER /Certified or Cashier's Cheque in US Dollar then you are to cash it and send the cash to the appropriate person via Western Union Transfer, all transfer fees should be deducted from the funds you are sending so you have nothing to lose.
NOTE: This is not a money laundering operation and will not breach any law, [Oh yes it is and yes it will...] each transfer will be processed according to your Country laws and taxes will be deducted from our part of the funds If you are interested,kindly get back to me with the following information below :
1. Full Name
2. Full Address , State , Zip code . ( We do not accept P.O. Box )
3. Telephone Number.
Thanks for your time and anticipation to work with us.
Mr john moses
CEO, Managing Director
Diamond Bead Gold Line INC
19 New Road Brighton
Company # 3514698