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:
- ",500,000" (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)
- "we advice you" (this email uses bad English)
- "foreign exchange" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Monica Owen"
Date: Sat, 7 Nov 2015 01:31:26 -0800
Subject: REF:- INSTRUCTION TO CREDIT YOUR BANK ACCOUNT
United Nations Assisted Program
UN Directorate of International Payment/Transfer Notice
3 Whitehall Court
London SW1A 2EL
Following the issuance of the Foreign Exchange Approval by the World Bank on the recommendation of the United Nations Protocol's Blue Book "Permanent Missions to the United Nations No. 295", October 2015 last updated with ST/SG/SER.A/295/Add.5 for the Immediate payment of your Un-claimed Funds.
It is our understanding from our findings that you have been going through hard times by paying a lot of charges for the release of your fund $10,500,000.00 USD without success. We advice that you stop further communication with any Correspondence from Africa and the UK, because Your payment has been ordered for release to you through our affiliate bank in China (China Merchants Bank).
If you follow up with our directives, your fund will reflect in your account within five Bank working days. Henceforth, we advice you to seize further communications with any Individual, Group of persons, Bank or its Agents regarding this fund, as doing so will be at your own risk.
Mrs. Monica Owen
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