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:
- "offshore account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- 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: "DR. GIDAI" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 21 Aug 2010 04:08:20 +0100
Subject: GLOBAL IND. ASIA LTD.
Kindly accept my apologies for reaching you through this means, but I sincerely need your assistance in the transfer of USD38.5million from an Escrow account here in Nigeria to an offshore account in your country.
These funds emanated from an over-invoiced contract awarded through a public private partnership between the World bank and my Government.
The contract was awarded to Global industires Asia Ltd, a company formed by my colleagues and I, and because this company does not exist, we require a partner who will come up as the beneficiary of this company due to the simple reason that as government workers, my colleagues and I are not allowed to have interests in private business.
30% of the funds will be given to you for your assistance.
Please if you are interested, kindly contact me ASAP for more details.