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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Barrister Mike David" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2014 15:30:45 -0300
Subject: DEAR FRIEND..
Dear Beloved Friend,
How are you today? Hope all is well with you and your family? I hope this mail meets you in a perfect condition.
You may not understand why this mail came to you. But if you do not remember me, you might have received an email from me in the past regarding a multi-million-dollars business proposal which we never concluded. I am using this opportunity to inform you that the multi million-dollars business has been concluded with another person who financed it to a logical conclusion. I thank you for your great effort to our unfinished transfer of fund into your account due to one reason or the other best known to you. But I want to inform you that I have successfully transferred the fund out of the bank to my new partner's account in China that was capable of assisting me in this great venture.
Due to your effort, sincerity, courage and trustworthiness you showed during the course of the transaction I want to compensate and show my gratitude to you with the sum of $2,000,000.00. I have left an ATM card for you worth $2,000,000.00 cashable any ATM machine in the world. My dear friend I will like you to contact my Rev. Father: Rev. Father John Ugo, for the collection of this ATM card.
I have authorized him to release the ATM card to you as soon as you contact him regarding this issue. At the moment, I am very busy here in China for investement with my new partner. Please I will like you to accept this token with good faith as this is from the bottom of my heart. Also comply with Rev.Father John Ugo, so that he will send the ATM card to you without any delay, contact him on the below contact information:
Name: Rev. Father John Ugo.
Address: No 4 Ikeja drive dolphins Lagos-Nigeria
Therefore, you should send him your full Name and telephone number/your address where you want him to send the ATM card to you.
Thanks and God bless you and your family, hope to hear from you soon.
Barrister Mike David