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:
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- 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: "Gerald Johnson" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 10 Dec 2016 08:24:51 -0600
Subject: Please Reply,
From: UBS Investment Bank (London)
1 Golden Lane, London.
EC 1Y 0RR, United Kingdom.
The Operations Manager,
Compliment of the season.
Do accept my sincere apologies if my mail does not meet your personal
ethics. I know that this mail will come to you as a surprise, but please
do not be discouraged with my proposal it was due to how things are moving
with me. However, this correspondence is unofficial and private, and it
should be treated as such. At first I will like to assure you that this
transaction is 100% risk and trouble free to both parties.
I am Mr. Gerald Johnson, the Operations Manager with the UBS Investment
International Bank here in London. I am contacting you based on my
personal interest to develop a mutual business relationship with you
in your country. The amount and terms of executing the deal will be
made known to you upon receiving a positive response from you.I
solicit for your assistance to execute this transaction.This
transaction will be covered up by me with my status here in the bank.
I will give you a complete picture of this transaction as soon as I
hear from you.