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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "contract award committee" (the name of a person or institution often appearing 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Jacob Yobo" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 10 Jun 2009 06:48:30 +0100
Subject: Please reply urgently
My name is Jacob Yobo. It is my pleasure to write this mail basically to seek your consent on this transaction
which involves transfer of an over-invoiced sum of money from my ministry NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation)
to your bank account. The amount involved is S$25million. I am a member of the Contract Award Committee (CAC) in my
ministry Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). This amount was intentionally over-invoiced for our benefit.
We have worked carefully to secure the approval of the fund since the original contract value has been paid on
completion of the contract in 2006. Then the remaining balance of the US$25million is what we intend to transfer secretly
to you using your bank account details. Our sharing modalities will be discussed soon as you indicate your willingness to work with me privately. Please reply to through this
Expecting your reply as soon as possible.