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)
- "clearance permit" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "contract award committee" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "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.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- +2348029148658 (Nigeria, prepaid mobile phone)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Sandra Huckson." (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 23 Aug 2009 09:48:34 -0000
Subject: Contact Barrister Billmy Harmonny Today..............(+2348029148658)
I am Mrs. Sandra Huckson, I am a US citizen, 48 years Old. I reside here in New Braunfels Texas. My residential address is as follows. 108 Crockett Court. Apt 303, New Braunfels Texas, United States.
I am one of those that executed a contract in Nigeria years ago and they refused to pay me, I had paid over $52,000 trying to get my payment all to no avail.
So I decided to travel down to Nigeria with all my contract documents, And I was directed to meet Barrister Billmy Harmonny, who is the member of CONTRACT AWARD COMMITTEE, and I contacted him and he explained everything to me.
He said that those people that is contacting us through emails are fake. Then he took me to the paying bank, which is Skye Bank Of Nigeria Plc, and I am the happiest woman on this earth now because I have received my contract funds of $10,250,000.00. Moreover, Barrister Billmy Harmonny, showed me the full information of those that have not received their payment, and I saw your name as the beneficiary, and your email address, that why i decided to email you and tell you to stop dealing with those people,they are not with your fund, they are only making money out of you. I will advise you to contact Barrister Billmy Harmonny now.
You have to contact him direct on this information below.
Name: Barrister Billmy Harmonny
Office Address: 13, Cole Street, Ikeja Lagos Nigeria.
You really have to stop dealing with those people that is contacting you and telling you that your fund is with them why your fund is not with them, they are only taking advantage of you and they will dry you up until you have nothing to eat again.
The only money I paid was just $720 for Non-Resident Clearance Permit (NRCP), which is very necessary, So you have to take note of that. Once again stop contacting those people, i will advise you to contact Barrister Billmy Harmonny so that he can help you to finalize your fund transfer instead of dealing with those liars that will be turning you around asking for different kind of money to complete your transfer.
Thank You and Be Blessed.
Mrs. Sandra Huckson.