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)
- "million 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 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Mr Stephen Hester <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Mr Stephen Hester <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2015 10:46:15 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: GOOD DAY
Â Dear Friend,
Pardon me for not knowing your mindset before making you this offer
which is utterly confidential and genuine by virtue of its nature. I
write to solicit your assistance in a funds transfer deal involving
12.4 million British Pounds
This fund has been slashed out of the excess profit made last year by
my branch office of the Nart west Bank London. I have already submitted
an approved end-of-the-year report for the year 2013 to my head
office, and they will never know of this excess cash.
Upon your response, I shall configure your name on our payroll
database as holder of the excess account. I will then guide you on how
to apply to my head office for the bank-to-bank remittance of the
excess cash of 12.4 million British Pounds into your designated bank
If you accept this proposal, I intend for you to retain 30% of the
funds while 70% shall be for me. Kindly send me the following
information,to my private email address:(firstname.lastname@example.org )
1, Your Full Name:
2, House Address:
3, Your Cell Phone Numbers:
4, Your Occupation:
Nart west Bank London