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:
- "fund beneficiary" (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)
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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: "OFFICE OF THE SENATE PRESIDENT"<firstname.lastname@example.org> (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2009 06:47:02 +0100
Subject: ATTN: FUND BENEFICIARY
OFFICE OF THE SENATE PRESIDENT
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY COMPLEX
THREE ARMS ZONE
P.M.B 141 ABUJA
ATTN: FUND BENEFICIARY,
RE: YOUR OUTSTANDING PAYMENT / THE WAY FORWARD.
I AM SENATOR DAVID MARK, SENATE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA. I AM
OBLIGED TO CONTACT YOU AT THIS MOMENT ON THE MATTER CONCERNING YOUR PAYMENT
BASED ON THE INFORMATION I JUST RECEIVED, WHICH HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION
FROM THE RECORDS AVAILABLE TO ME, YOUR PAYMENT HAS SEVERALLY BEEN DELAYED AND
OFTEN LEADING TO DISTORTION AND EXTORTION AND AT THE END HAVING NOTHING IN RETURN.
BY THE POWER ENTRUSTED ON THE SENATE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA,
I AM SET TO RELEASE YOUR OUTSTANDING PAYMENT AND ENSURE THAT THIS TIME YOUR FUND
WILL BE RELEASED TO YOU UNFAILINGLY WITHOUT YOU GOING THROUGH STRESS, IF ONLY YOU
ARE READY TO ADHERE TO MY INSTRUCTIONS/ADVICE ON THE WAY FORWARD IN RETRIEVING
THIS LONG AWAITED PAYMENT FROM THIS UGLY AND UNHEALTHY SITUATION.
WE HAVE RECEIVED A LOT OF REPORTED CASES OF CORRUPT PRACTICES IN SO MANY
COMMERCIAL BANKS INCLUDING SOME GROUP OF UNSCRUPULOUS PEOPLE IN THE CENTRAL
ANK OF NIGERIA WHO CLAIMS TO BE WHO THEY ARE NOT, MISS-INFORMING CREDITORS LIKE
YOU AND CAUSING A LOT OF PROBLEMS AND IRREGULARITIES TOWARDS THE RELEASE OF YOUR
PAYMENT, THEREBY TARNISHING THE GOOD IMAGE OF THIS GREAT COUNTRY.
I AM SET TO HELP YOU IF ONLY YOU ALLOW ME. KINDLY RECONFIRM YOUR FULL NAME AND
TELEPHONE NUMBER(S) & FAX NUMBER(S) IF ANY WHEN RESPONDING TO THIS NOTICE. I SHALL
LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR EARLIEST POSITIVE RESPONSE FOR FURTHER DETAILS, DELIBERATIONS
VERY PERSONAL REGARDS,
SEN. DAVID MARK
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA