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:
- "account opening" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
- number: +234-806-615-4068 (24 hours) private email: email@example.com priority: urgent my name is carol croff of the (Aol; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Carol Croff" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 18 Sep 2010 19:45:34 -0400
Subject: Very Important Detail (Respond Quickly)
FUND RELEASE/PAYMENT OFFICE
OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR
TELEX / COMPUTER DEPARTMENT
LAGOS - NIGERIA
CONTACT NUMBER: +234-806-615-4068 (24 HOURS)
PRIVATE EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Carol Croff of the telex/computer department of First City
Monumental bank (FCMB)/ United bank for Africa (UBA). I am
sending you this private email based on the confidential nature of
the transaction and i ask that after you read the proposal there in
and you do not have an interest, please delete this email and keep
the details to your self, as i am still in service and i would not like to
loose my job.
Fisrt of all i would like to inform you that the Federal government
and CBN has now handed over;all payment processes and proceeding
to FCMB and UBA, therefore, you are to stop all forms of
communication with whom ever you had been dealing with
Furthermore, after proper verification of your files, it has come to my
notice that you have alsmost fullfilled all the statutory requirements
as regards your contract/inheritance payment. Your problem is
interest groups. Due to the fact that your transaction was being
handled by the puclic sector of the government, so many people had
interest in your money and for this reason, these people facilitate
paper works so as to slow you down and discourage you from
receiving the funds and this explains why you receive several
emailsand phone calls from unknown persons all the time, hence you
loose interest and abandon the transaction .
However, i wish to assure you that with my position here in the telex
department, i can facilitate an online account for you in which your
funds would be put in and you can transfer and credit the funds to
your nominated account within 72hours with any difficulty. (THE
ONLINE ACCOUNT OPENING IS FREE)
Finally, if you accept my proposal, please snd me a response with your
private email and phone number to my email address below
immediately or give me a call at the number ; +234-806-615-4068.
Even if you do not accept my offer, i will advise you take time to come
down and regularize your defective documents rather than fruitless
emails and calls with offices here.