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:
- "money laundering" ("anti-terrorist", "anti-money laundering" or "drug-free" certificates are a common way for criminals in fake lottery scams and other Advance Fee scams to get you to send money to them. There are no such certificates in the real banking world. )
- "million 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)
- "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)
- "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)
- ",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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Michael Scott" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2016 16:58:48 -0300
Firstly we introduce this commission (INTERPOL) International Police. We fight cyber crime, internet fraud, scam and money laundering in Africa, United Kingdom, United State and Asian region. Our commission has been in existences since 2002 and our duty is to stop internet fraud. We have over 11,500 fraudsters in our Central prisons around UK, Asia and we are still on the lookout more. We are aware that a lot of foreigners have been deceived and huge amounts of money have been lost to them.
The Leaders of the UN Crime Fighters, have come together to inform the world what is going on and we have recovered over $ 422 Million Dollars (Four Hundred and Twenty two Million Dollars) from the people we have apprehended. Your reference (Email id) was given to us by one of the fraudsters in our detention room after serious investigation and our aim is to refund all lost funds to its legitimate owners.
The UN has approved a total of Five Hundred Thousand US Dollars only (US $ 500,000.00), as compensation to the loss that you incurred as this was a ceiling rate. Some suffered more while others suffered less and the idea is to restore back to the position that you would have been if not defrauded. In addition to the compensation amount approved in your favor is One Million US Dollars only (US $1,000,000.00), making it a total of One Million, Five Hundred Thousand US Dollars. This will be paid to you in the next few days. We still seek for others who feel they are wise and hope that you will be of assistance by giving us more information as per clue in apprehending them. The UN has issued instructions that foreign payment should be via ATM MasterCard only and no representative(s) will be accepted in order to avoid diversion of beneficiary's funds into their private account.
We do hereby ask you to contact this office immediately with your personal data such as, Full name and address, country of origin Company's name and position (if any), Present occupation, Mobile/phone number for easier communication for ratification and to redeem your compensation.