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)
- "to your nominated 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)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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.
- +2348066409715 (Nigeria, prepaid mobile phone)
Fraud email example:
From: "ENGR.FUNSHO KUPOLOKUN." (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 16 Jul 2009 16:26:24 +0100
Subject: FUND DEPOSITED FOR INVESTMENT,SEND YOUR INFORMATION.
From the desk of:Engr. Funsho Kupolokun
25, Lekki Phase 2,Anifowoshe, Lagos-Nigeria.
Date: Tuesday July 14th, 2009.
RE: PERSONAL FUND TRANSFER FOR MUTUAL INVESTMENT.
I am the former Group Managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC),following the disolution of the NNPC Board in April 2007 and government settlement of the board's accrued funds and my personal emolument/gratuity, i have a total sum of US$30.5Million deposited offshore that i wish to transfer to your nominated bank account/custody for investment purposes consequent upon my retirement,sickness which the doctor has diagnosed as leukanmia.Incase of my absence,you shall commence with my only son as all documents are in his names as the next of kin and i shall change them to you now.
I shall compensate you adequately upon successful transfer of the fund to your custody and you are free to negotiate the terms of the compensation.I shall send you all the legal documents to enable us file claim for the release of the deposited fund upon receipt of your correct and complete names, contact address and private phone numbers. Please,feel free to ask any question or make observation for possible clarification and endeavour to acknowledge receipt of this message and respond accordingly.You can call me on my direct phone number as shown above for more discussions.