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)
- "of which your share shall be" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
- email@example.com (Mail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "timi coker" <firstname.lastname@example.org> (may be fake)
Reply-To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 2010 08:37:42 -0000 (GMT)
Subject: ASSISTANCE REQUIRED FOR ACQUISITION OF ESTATES.
ASSISTANCE REQUIRED FOR ACQUISITION OF ESTATES.
I write to inform you of my desire to acquire estates or landed properties
in your country on behalf of the Director of Contracts and Finance
Allocation of the Federal Ministry of works and Housing in Nigeria.
Considering his very strategic and influential position, he would want the
transaction to be strictly as confidential as possible. He further want
his identity to remain undisclosed at least for now, until the completion
of the transaction. Hence our desire to have an overseas agent.
I have therefore been directed to inquire if you would agree to act as our
overseas agent in order to actualise this transaction.
The deal in brief is that the funds with which to carry out our proposed
investments in your country is presently in a coded account in the
Nigerian apex bank and we need your assistance to transfer the funds to
your country or any safe account outside your country in a convenient bank
account that will be provided by you before we can put the funds into use.
For this you shall be considered to have executed a contract for the
The contract sum of which shall run into US$18.5Million of which your
share shall be 50% if you agree to be our overseas agent. Your area of
specialisation does not matter in this transaction, all that is required
of you is a safe account and your willingness to assist us acquire estates
in your country.
As soon as payment is effected and the amount mentioned above is
successfully transferred into your account, we intend to use our own share
in acquiring some estates abroad. For this too, you shall serve as our
It might interest you to note that last year, a similar transaction was
carried out with one MR. CHIENCHEN YU of Taiwan but after securing the
payment approvals, and payment effected, MR.CHIENCHEN YU changed his
numbers and addresses,and was no where to be found on our getting to
That was how we lost US$8.5Million. So this time around , I will be with
you before the remmittance is made into your provided account to avoid
future occurrence and
allow trust to play a very minimal role until performance is seen. You are
requested to communicate your acceptance or otherwise of this proposal,
through email. After which we
shall discuss in details the modalities for seeing this transaction
through. If however, you are not disposed to assist, kindly destroy this
letter in view of the confidentiality of the proposed transaction and
interest of personalities involved.
Thank you in anticipation of your co-operation.
contact email address:email@example.com