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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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 orders " (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. )
- "cashiers check" (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 company representative scam. This type of job offer scam involves the cashing of fake checks and money orders. It could expose you to losses of tens of thousands of dollars as well as to the risk of criminal prosecution and (in some cases) imprisonment.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Kingsley Brent." (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 12 Mar 2017 10:35:14 -0400
Subject: ------------PART TIME OFFER KINDLY RESPOND ASAP------------
Good tidings to you as you read. I am Mr. Kingsley Brent and I own a company based on Chinese and African textile and fabric material in UK (Brent Fabrics), I am in search for a trustworthy representative in USA, UK that can help as a link between me and my clients over there. I would like to know if you are interested in working from home for us. Urgently I need a representative in the States, that will work on-line from home and get paid weekly without leaving or affecting your present job. My Company produces various clothing materials, batiks, assorted fabrics and traditional costumes.
We have clients we supply weekly in the US, Canada, UK, and some other parts of europe, and my clients make payments for our supplies every week in form of money orders or cashiers check which are not readily cashable outside the US, UK or Canada.
You are to receive payments from my patronizing customers on my behalf. We are searching for representatives who can help us establish a medium of getting to our customers in America/Canada as well as making payments through you as our payment officer. It is upon this note that we seek your assistance to stand as our representative in your country. Note that, as our representative, you will receive 10 Percent of whatever amount you clear for the company and the balance will be paid into our account in which we will avail to you. Please, to facilitate the conclusion of this transaction if accepted, do send promptly by email the following: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Your Full Names:
2. Your Address:
3. State/Zip Code:
4. Your Age:
6. Marital Status:
7. Direct Contact Telephone Number.
Thank you, and I hope to hear from you soonest.
22 Blackstone Road
London, NW2 6DA
(44)721 113 9142