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:
- "hundred thousand us 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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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: "Mr. Alan Smith" <Alan5@donate4o21.jp.tn>
Date: Sat, 4 Jun 2016 18:25:57 -0700
Ref.: Transfer Payment Approval Notice.
Approved Payment Valued US$8, 100, 000.00.
Payment Reference No.: SANDR/LHO/XXCL975/16.
We are pleased to inform you officially that we have on Friday the 15th of May, 2016 received first Installment Credit Order from the Home Office, in association with the International Monetary Fund in your favor valued at US$8, 100, 000.00 (Eight Million One Hundred Thousand US Dollars Only), also note that we have without delays approved an immediate release to your Bank via Swift Telegraphic Wire Transfer.
To this effect, you have been issued with this Exclusive Payment Reference Number SANDR/LHO/XXCL975/16; and you are therefore advised to respond to this payment instruction at once so we shall officially contact you and commence with the immediate transfer of your fund as approved. You are to respond to this payment notice with your full Contact details along with your Payment Reference Number above for an immediate release of your fund. Please note that your immediate response to this Bank is highly imperative.
You are advised to contact the undersigned for further instructions in regards to this payment to enable us serve you better.
Thank you for your anticipated co-operation.
Mr. Alan Smith
Private Banking Dept.
Santander Bank Plc, UK.
Direct Line: +44 750 953 0113
Fax: +44 700 601 9305
Registered Office: 2 Triton Square, Regent's Place, London, NW1 3AN, United Kingdom