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:
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "please endeavor to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "certified bank draft" (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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Lambert " <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "Mr. Lambert " <St.email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2014 14:24:52 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: GOOD NEWS TO YOU DEAR FRIEND
Hello my good friendÂ I hope you and your family is doing good, I bring you this good news. I am happy to inform you that God has finally done it for me. I have successfully transferred the funds with the help of a new partner from Chile. And presently I am in the United States of America investing in real estate with my own share of the fund. Meanwhile, I resigned my job and relocated here with my family for security reasons. But, I did not forget all your past efforts and attempts to assist me in transferring the funds despite the problem we encountered. Â Because of that, I will like you to contact the parish priest of my catholic parish in my country Benin, for the sum of USD$500,000 dollars I left for you in certified bank draft as compensation for your past efforts. Â I appreciated your efforts and contributions, maybe without you all these wouldnât have been possible which is the reason canât have enjoy the riches alone without you.
So contact the priest as I directed as he was the only trusted and reliable person I could entrust the safety of the bank draft in his care. Your name was already written on the draft which makes it difficult for another person to cash it except you. So it is well secured for you. The priestâs name is: Â Rev.Fr. Simeon N.O You can contact him on: St.firstname.lastname@example.org Â
Â Ask him to give you the international bank draft I kept for you. Please endeavor to invest the money wisely into any profitable venture to make up for all the stress & sufferings we went through. I must confess that itâs been my pleasure meeting you. Thank you for being a good man and for keeping the transaction secret.Â My greetings to your family,