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:
- "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.
- 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: "JOHN UCHE" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 26 Dec 2009 15:15:09 -0000
Subject: APPROVAL GRANTED FOR TRANSFER OF YOUR PAYMENT
FINAL NOTICE ON THE TRANSFER OF YOUR $15.5M APPROVED PAYMENT
FROM: DR JOHN IBE UCHE
FEDERAL MINISTRY OF FINANCE
FOREIGN EXCHANGE DEPARTMENT
EXCHANGE CONTROL DIVISION
FEDERAL SECRETARIAT, LAGOS , NIGERIA .
RE: APPROVAL OF $15.5 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
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
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
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.
DR JOHN IBE. UCHE