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:
- "outstanding contractors" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- 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: "SENATOR DAVID MARK" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 21 Apr 2011 02:44:40 -0700
Subject: FINALL PAYMENT FOR THE YAER 2011 VERY URGENT
OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL MINISTER OF FINANCE
REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA.Date:21/4 / 2011 Our
Ref: CBN/IRD/CBX/12/10IMMEDIATE CONTRACT
PAYMENT /NO: MAV/NNBC/FGN/MIN/2011FINAL
FROM THE RECORDS OF OUTSTANDING CONTRACTORS/INHERITANCE FUNDS DUE FOR PAYMENT WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA, YOUR NAME WAS DISCOVERED AS NEXT ON THE LIST OF THE OUTSTANDING CONTRACTORS/BENEFICIARIES WHO HAVE NOT RECEIVED THEIR PAYMENTS DUE TO WRONG INFORMATION AND MISCONDUCT FROM THE PEOPLE HANDLE YOUR PAYMENT FILE AND WE WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO GET THE COMPLETE INFORMATION FOR YOUR PAYMENT.
I WISH TO INFORM YOU THAT YOUR PAYMENT IS PROCESSED AND WILL BE RELEASED TO YOU AS SOON AS YOU RESPOND TO THIS EMAIL. ALSO NOTE THAT FROM THE RECORD IN MY FILE YOUR OUTSTANDING FUNDS PAYMENT IS US$7.5M, (SEVEN MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS ONLY) WILL BE TO BE RELEASE TO YOU.
PLEASE RE-CONFIRM TO US WITH ALL THESE REQUIRED DETAILS BELLOW IMMEDIATE AND TO ENABLE US EFFECT THE PAYMENT OF YOUR FUND.
1. YOUR FULL NAME.
2. PHONE, FAX AND MOBILE
6. COPY OF IDENTITY.
7.FULL INFORMATION OF YOUR BANK DETAILS
AS SOON AS THESE INFORMATIONS ARE RECEIVED, YOUR PAYMENT WILL BE MADE TO YOU IN A FULLY CERTIFIED FROM THIS PAYMENT OFFICE. WAITING FOR YOUR IMMEDIATE RESPOND.
SENATOR. DAVID MARK
OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL
MINISTER OF FINANCE
Federal Republic of Nigeria