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:
- "million 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)
- "confidential business" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "DR.PAUL JAMES." (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 11 Apr 2016 16:17:23 +0200
Subject: I NEED YOUR IMMEDIATE RESPONSE URGENTLY .
First of all, my name is Dr. Paul James, the Auditor General of ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND. I have an urgent and confidential business proposition for you.I am the accounting officer of Mr. Ken Lay, Enron founder, who died on July, 5th 2006, at the age of 64.It will interest to know that on Wednesday, 7th February 2001, Mr. Ken Lay deposited a total sum of 37.5M pounds. These funds were deposited into a non-existing company's account which I opened in our bank (ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND) under their instructions, to avoid raising an eyebrow.
Meanwhile, the 37.5 Million Pounds deposited in my bank has no proof of ownership as it was opened with non-existing companies name and the bank is not aware of the real beneficiaries as the accounts did not bear any name. As their accounting officer and financial adviser in charge of these accounts, I can comfortable present you to the Bank as the real beneficiary of the funds and they have no right to deny the application.
Dr Paul James