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)
- "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)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "nigeria national petroleum corporation" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "abuja" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Jones Omoba" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 2010 14:42:02 -0700
Subject: OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR/COMPTROLLER OF FUNDS
OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR/COMPTROLLER OF FUNDS,
FINANCE APRAISAL COMMITTEE, CONTRACT DEPARTMENT,
NIGERIA NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION (NNPC),
ABUJA - NIGERIA.
TERMS OF REFERENCE
I am Mr. Jones Omoba. My terms of reference involves the financial management and disbursement of proceeds from sale of petroleum products, award of contracts to multinational companies, screening and categorization of projects embarked upon by thIS ministry, feasibility study for selected projects and supervising the project consultants involved.
A breakdown of the fiscal expenditure by this office as at the end of the Fourth Quarter Fiscal Year of 2009 indicates that this Ministry paid out a whooping sum of US$2.8Billion (Two Billion, Eight Hundred Million US Dollars) to successful contract beneficiaries. The Ministry is now compiling beneficiaries to be paid in this First quarter of 2010. The crux of this letter is that the Finance Apraisal Committe/Contract Department of this Ministry delibrately over-inflated the contract value of various contracts awarded to the tune of US$40.5m (Forty Million, Five Hundred Thousand US Dollars)
This money is now lying and floating in the ministry's domiciliary account with the Apex Bank, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). My colleagues and I now want to quickly transfer these funds to a safe nominated account for possible investment abroad. We are not allowed as a matter of Government policy to operate any foreign account because of our status as Civil/Public servants. Hence the need to solicit for your assistance to be a silent foreign partner whose identity we can use to transfer the sum of $40,500,000,00 (Forty Million, Five Hundred Thousand U.S. dollars)
A sharing formular of 30% of the total amount for the foreign partner and 70% for myself and colleagues have also been evolved.
Furthermore, we shall be relying on your advice as regards investments of part of our share in your country. Be informed that this business is genuine and 100% safe considering the high-powered government functionaries involved. To conclude this transfer successfully, we shall require your full name and address,Telephone and Fax numbers, Marital Status, Occupation and a copy of your valid Identification. We have ten(10) working days to conclude this deal on Commencement, and I shall join you at the account base for sharing and further discussion on my investment plan in your country.
NOTE: Upon receiving your full detailed information, I will direct you to a Lawyer (Attorney) who will handle this transaction on your behalf successfully.
Looking forward to a healthy business relationship with you.
Mr. Jones Omoba