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 dollars" (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)
- ",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)
- "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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Williams Eze" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 4 Dec 2015 12:23:56 -0500
Subject: CONTACT JUBRIL GODWIN FOR YOUR CERTIFIED BANK DRAFT.
How are you today and how is life over there in your country, am very happy to inform you about the successful transfer of that fund i told you that i will like to transfer into your bank account sometime ago but due to some circumstance you opted out of the deal. However i later found someone who helped me in the transfer,he is the CEO of RV PLATINUM SHIPPING SERVICE based in Venezuela in the person of Mr Antonio Elortegui.
Meanwhile am on investment project in venezuela and i cannot forget your tireless effort then to help me succeeded in this transfer and i have decided to reward your kindness,i left a Certified Bank Draft of (USD$2,000,000.00) Two Million Dollars under the care of my personal assistance Mr. Jubril Godwin Jr to send to you as soon as you contact him through his personal email address: email@example.com
Tell him i asked you to contact him regarding the bank Draft i issued on your behalf. In the main time am going to be away from my email and I will not be able to check my email box, as i will like to concentrate on my purpose of coming here to invest my money, if you so desire to speak with me you can reach me on phone with +58412575530. Let me know as soon as you receive your Bank Draft so that we can both share in this joy.
Thanks and have a nice day.
Dr. Williams Eze.