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:
- "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. )
- "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)
- "hundred thousand great british 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.
- +447012951776 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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 (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Smith Johnson" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2014 07:04:11 -0700
Subject: From Dr Smith Johnson(very URGENT PLEASE)
I am Dr Smith Johnson From Harlsden, North West London, here in England.
working with Natwest Bank Plc London United Kingdom I am writing to you from my office with immense benefit to both of us.I discovered an abandoned sum of £ 12.5 million Great British pounds sterling (Twelve million five hundred thousand Great British pounds sterling) in an account belonging to one of our foreign customers Late Mr. Thompson Morrison, an American citizen who unfortunately died in plane crash in Alaska Airlines Flight 261,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 the transaction. And the confidentiality herein. Right now, the fund is lying unclaimed in our Bank and there is no next of kin mentioned in his file and the bank has been unsuccessful to locate any of his relative. I personally have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives.
I seek your consent to present you as relatives / Will Beneficiary to the deceased so that the proceeds of this account valued at £ 12.5 million pounds may be paid to your account.This will be disbursed or shared in these percentages, 60% to me and 40% for you. I have secured all necessary legal documents that can be used to back up this claim, we do.
I got your contact from your country international business information here in London.
Please, give me the following, which we have seven days to run it through. It is very very
1 Your full name
2 Your mobile number
3 Your Contact Address
4 Occupation / position
Dr Smith Johnson
Tel: +4470 1295 1776
TRANSFER OF £12,500.000.00