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:
- "here in london united kingdom" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
Fraud email example:
From: John Robinson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 26 Dec 2015 15:35:22 +0000
Subject: Re: I await your swift reply.
I am John Robinson, the Head of file Department in Tesco Bank Plc here in London United Kingdom. I wish to notify you again that you were listed as a beneficiary to the total sum of Twelve Million Five Hundred thousand British pounds in the codicil and last testament of our deceased customer (NAME WITHHELD). I contacted you because you bear the same surname identity and therefore I can present you as the beneficiary to the inheritance.
I therefore reckoned that you can receive these funds as you are qualified by your name identity. I shall provide you with the legal papers in my possession that you will present to our bank as prove of your claim for immediate processing of the fund release to you, in your acceptance to co-operate with me on this deal.
Kindly forward to me your letter of acceptance; your current telephone and fax numbers and a forwarding address to enable me file in an application of claim with our bank on your behalf.
Head of file Department,
Mr. John Robinson.
Tel: +44 793 746 6716.