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 beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "west africa fund monitoring unit" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "email@example.com" (this email address looks like addresses used in "ATM SWIFT card" scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Jonathan David" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2014 08:51:33 -0500
Subject: Contact the verification officer incharge of the delivery:
This is to officially inform you that we have written to you before without getting respond from you and we believe that our previous mail did not get to you therefore we write you again. We are contacting you concerning the release of your inheritance fund / Draft /Cheque /ATM Card which have been delayed for transfer by some officials who claim to be in position of your fund thereby extorting money from you in one way or the other.
Your Fund has finally been approved for transfer by the West Africa Fund Monitoring Unit. Your fund will be transfer to you via MasterCard ATM which is cashable in any ATM machine or Bank anywhere in the world.
We hereby inform you that the ATM card worth US$8.5, 000.000.00 has been credited in your favour as the first part payment of your inheritance fund which has been delayed by these officers who claim to be in position of your fund.
Therefore you are warned to stop any further communication with anybody concerning your inheritance fund.
Your fund to be released via MasterCard ATM in act to uphold the rule of law which we represent.You have to reconfirm the informations below for security reasons. The only money you are obliged to pay is the delivery charges only .
Contact the verification officer incharge of the delivery:
Name: Mr. Jonathan David
Send them the following informations of yours for the conclusion of your ATM Card:
Mr. Jonathan David