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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "foreign exchange" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: "ERIC PHILIPS" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 21 Aug 2009 09:36:26 +0100
Subject: TRANSFER OF YOUR $20.5M APPROVED PAYMENT
TRANSFER OF YOUR $20.5M APPROVED PAYMENT
FROM: MR ERIC PHILIPS
FEDERAL MINISTRY OF FINANCE
FOREIGN EXCHANGE DEPARTMENT
EXCHANGE CONTROL DIVISION
FEDERAL SECRETARIAT, LAGOS , NIGERIA .
RE: APPROVAL OF $20.5 MILLION PAYMENT
I am a director with the Federal Ministry of Finance and was
instructed by the Hon Minister of Finance of Nigeria to find
out before the end of this month, WHY your contract payment/
claim of your fund have not been credited to your account,
after instructions has been passed to all various Government
quarters that all over due contract/claim payments should
be released as a lot of petitions by beneficiary's has been
received by the Minister.
Your bank details are what this office want you to
reconfirm, with your telephone and fax numbers, and any
other information on WHY you have not received your payment
up-till date?. However I will give my assistance to make
sure your file is in order for payment as two people came
for the claim of the fund and submitted account saying that
you are not well and no longer interested in the fund.
Do get back to me as soon as you get this mail.
MR ERIC PHILIPS