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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "transferred into your bank account" (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: "Dr Hassan Musa" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2016 05:29:33 -0800
Subject: Call Me
FROM THE DESK OF
DR. HASSAN MUSA
NIGERIA PORTS AUTHORITY
I need your co-operation in order to transfer into your bank account for our mutual economic benefits, US$18.2million over inflated contract proceeds. Meanwhile, I am Dr. Hassan Musa, senior staff of the Nigerian Ports Authority. Therefore, my intention in reaching out to you through this medium is to seek for your assistance/cooperation in getting the over invoiced part of the total contract fund transferred into your bank account for our mutual benefit.
I already have every arrangement relating to this transaction diligently worked out hence you can be rest assured of 101% risk/hitch free transaction. I shall provide more details if/where necessary upon receipt of your favorable reply.
While thanking in advance for your anticipated favorable response to this proposition, I remain,
Dr. Hassan Musa