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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- 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: "Dr. Faiz Imam" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 24 Jan 2010 23:11:17 +0100
Subject: /New Message/
FROM THE DESK OF FAIZ IMAM
I am Faiz Imam, a top executive in a reputable oil and gas company based in the United Kingdom. (I will provide you details subsequently). Permit me to ask for your utmost confidentiality in the matter I write to you about. I have been a top executive of this company for several years during which time the company executed a lot of contracts in the Energy and Gas sector successfully. I will spare you details of our mode of operation and go straight to the issue at hand.
We did issue a contract to a major company which was executed successfully and the contract sum paid in full, except for the fact that we over-invoiced the contract sum to the tune of Eight million two hundred and fifty thousand British Pounds (GPB 8,250,000). This money was paid alongside the main contract sum and we have it kept safely in an escrow account. This is one of the deals being done regularly in Oil rich nations by Oil & Gas workers and a few lucky individuals involved. There are a few of us from the various departments involved in this deal and we have decided to do this in order to secure the future of our families.
We need a neutral partner who will stand as a subcontractor and will be paid this fund without arousing unnecessary suspicion. From our investigation, you are an honest person who will feel can help us stand as the beneficiary of this fund.
We have taken the necessary precautions to ensure that this transaction is 100% legal and safe, as due documentations are provided. For your assistance, we shall offer you 20% of the total fund, and we have set aside 5% for any expenses. Soon as the fund is transferred to over to you we shall come over to your country for our share of the money.
Should you be interested please contact me ONLY via my private email as I do intend to keep this transaction as discrete as possible and would advice you do same.
Dr. Faiz Imam.
Fax: + 44-705-361-9635