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)
- "your payment is being processed" (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)
- "million 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "foreign remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Fund Monitors" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 1 Apr 2013 16:25:28 -0700
Subject: RE: IMMEDIATE PAYMENT OF YOUR LONG DUE FUND OF $25MILLION
FROM:MR IBRAHIM ABUBAKAR KWARGANA,
FOREIGN REMITTANCE DEPARTMENT
UNION BANK OF NIGERIA
RE: IMMEDIATE PAYMENT OF YOUR LONG DUE FUND OF $25MILLION CONTRACT#:MAV/NNPC/FGN/MIN/11.
Following the protest of the International Community, The World Bank, IMF and the instruction by the President and Commander in Chief of the armed forces(PRESIDENT JONATHAN GOODLUCK) that all outstanding foreign debts especially next of kin payment should be released to the beneficiaries forthwith unconditionally as fund documents are ready and will be given to you.
>From the records of outstanding contractors due for payment with the Government of Nigeria. Your name and company was discovered as next of kin on the list of the outstanding contractors who have not received their payments. I wish to inform you that your payment is being processed and will be released to you as soon as you respond to this letter.
Also note that from the record in my file, your outstanding contract payment is $25,000,000 (Twenty Five Million United States Dollars). Please re-confirm to me here in Email: ..... the followings:
1) Your full name....
2) Phone, Fax and Mobile #......
3) Company name....., Position......, Address......
4) Profession....,age....,sex.... , Marital status....
5) A Copy of Your ID
6) Banking Details,
As soon as this information are received, your payment documents will be made to you and your fund wired to your bank account directly from Union Bank PLC or any of the assisted bank and a copy of the transfer confirmation information will be given to you for you to take to your bank and confirm it.
MR IBRAHIM ABUBAKAR KWARGANA
FOREIGN REMITTANCE DEPARTMENT
UNION BANK OF NIGERIA.