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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",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)
- "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 "New Partner from Paraguay" 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.
- 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 (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Jessica Wilfred" <test>
Date: Thu, 26 May 2016 10:51:07 +0430
Subject: Thank God I Found You. CONTACT MY SECRETARY
How are you today? Hope all is well with you and your family? I hope this mail meets you in a perfect condition. You may not understand why this mail came to you. But if you do not remember me, you might have received an email from me in the past regarding a multi-million-dollar business proposal which we never concluded.
I am using this opportunity to inform you that the multi-million-dollar business has been concluded with another person who financed it to a logical conclusion. I thank you for your great effort to our unfinished transfer of fund into your account due to one reason or the other best known to you. But I want to inform you that I have successfully transferred the fund out of the bank to my new partner's account in London that was capable of assisting me in this great venture.
Due to your effort, sincerity, courage and trustworthiness you showed during the course of the transaction I want to compensate you and show my gratitude to you with the sum of $1,500,000.00. I have left an international certified bank draft for you worth $1,500,000.00 cashable anywhere in the world.
My dear friend I will like you to contact my secretary: Mr. BERNARD HILL, for the collection of this international certified bank draft. I have authorized him to release the international certified bank draft to you as soon as you contact him regarding this issue.
At the moment, I am very busy here because of the investment projects which myself and the new partner are having at hand. Please I will like you to accept this token with good faith as this is from the bottom of my heart. Also comply with MR. BERNARD HILL so that he will send the draft to you without any delay.
Contact him on the below contact information:
CONTACT: MR.BERNARD HILL
ADDRESS: 4, Comrade Onukem Close,Off East/West Road,Lagos,Nigeria.
EMAIL : firstname.lastname@example.org
Therefore, you should send him your full Name and telephone number/your address where you want him to send the draft to you.
Thanks and God bless you and your family, hope to hear from you soon.
Mrs. Jessica Wilfred.
CONTACT MY SECRETARY : email@example.com