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:
- "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)
- "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. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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, France; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Lawrence Roberts <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Lawrence Roberts <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2015 13:00:38 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: GOOD NEWS FOR YOUR PAST EFFORT.
I contacted you some time ago in respect to the funds transfer of my
deceased client . I want to sincerely thank you for your help initially
although you backed out thinking that the funds transfer was illegal and a
scam. Well, everything was legal and legit and went well, the funds
transfer was a success!!!
I am on vacation now in China with my family. In a way to appreciate your
kind gesture, I have instructed my bank to transfer the sum of four
million two hundred thousand USD ($4,200,000.00) to you via a certified
Bank Draft/check so that you can claim and cash in your bank. This is my
little way of saying thank you for your initial help.
Please send the the following information as soon as possible to my
Secretary, so that he can forward it to my bank for the necessary
modalities in the transfer of your Bank draft.
1. Your full Name
2. Telephone/Mobile phone number:
3. Contact address
My Secretary email contacts
Contact Name:Mr John Chuks.
Also note that the money I have left for the bank is ($4,200,000.00)my
Secretary will give you more guard line on how to deal with bank,and be
inform I will not be able to respond to your email till further notice as
am on vacation with my family all mobiles will be switch off and email
will not be attend too till further notice.