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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "million us dollars" (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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "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.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: musa ibrahim <email@example.com>
Reply-To: musa ibrahim <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 15 Feb 2010 04:46:19 -0800 (PST)
Subject: ATTN:THE PRESIDENT/CEO - HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL.
Mr Musa Ibrahim
The Holy Crescent Mosque
82 Ago Palace Way, Okota - Isolo
Lagos - Nigeria
cellPhone - 234-1-7755196
Phone - 234-8058851646
PERMISSION TO REMIT US $10 MILLION INTO YOUR COMPANY OR PRIVATE ACCOUNT.
It is my pleasure to write and inform you of a transaction involving the transfer of US $10,000,000.00 (ten million US dollars) only into a foreign account for safekeeping pending my arrival with my colleagues for the sharing with you as the account owner into which the money is remitted. I am an accountant with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Lagos and this money originated from over-invoiced contract executed for the corporation some years back. This contract has long been completed by a foreign firm and the contractor duly paid. I now seek if you would permit the surplus to be remitted into your account.
As a matter of fact, we are top government officials and we cannot come out openly to claim this amount. This is why we are looking for a competent and honest company or individual abroad whose documents would be tendered by us here in Nigeria as one of the contractors that executed the project. However, I would wish to receive your personal assurance that you would not sit on the money when it goes into your account. More importantly, you keep confidential this transaction, in order not to tarnish the confidence repose in the officials involved in this transaction.
To effect this transfer, I therefore request the following: YOUR ACCOUNT NUMBER, THE NAME OF YOUR BANK WHERE THE MONEY WOULD BE TRANSFERRED INTO AND ALSO YOUR PRIVATE FAX AND TELEPHONE NUMBERS FOR QUICK COMMUNICATION. So far, after due consultations, you were strongly and reliably recommended to us although we have not met or entered into any kind of contract with you before as to know the extent of your honesty, but based on the recommendation, I personally want to believe that you are honest enough and would not sit on the money if finally got into your account. It is on this note that I consider it proper to write you asking for your permission and support to transfer this amount into your account.
You should not fear any risk because I have concluded arrangement to safe guard you in the transaction. This business is 100% risk free. Hence it requires high level of confidence and secrecy. Meanwhile this is the breakdown of the sharing modalities: (A). 10% WILL BE USED TO SETTLE TRANSFER CHARGES AND LEGAL PROTOCOLS. (B). 30% IS FOR USING YOUR ACCOUNT. (C). 60% OF IT WILL BE FOR US THE ORIGINATORS. Be informed that on completion of this business I will use part of my money to invest in your country under your care. Please note that the transfer operation will take seven to ten working days to be completed. Please contact me by the above mobile phone, e-mail or fax number. PHONE 234-1-7755196,234-8058851646, FAX23417597874. EMAIL:email@example.com
Mr. Musa Ibrahim