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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million united states 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)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "UWALAKA" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 2010 10:21:51 -0700
Subject: DO ME A FAVOUR
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENCY
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
FROM THE DESK OF:
DR. HENRY UWALAKA
My name is Dr. Henry Uwalaka, a Nigeria Working with the Presidency of Nigeria,
My colleagues have assigned me to seek for a trustworthy and God fearing
Foreign Partner in your person to assist us Invest about US$121,000.000.00 (
One-Hundred and Twenty One Million United States Dollars Only) we acquired from
2009 Excess Crude Oil Sales we Executed.
We are interested in Real Estates, Hotels, Marketing of Petroleum and
Agricultural Products and other business you may likely advice? You are
required as a matter of urgency to furnish us your Contact Address, Telephone
numbers for easy correspondences and Banking Details as we schedule to conclude
this transfer within 72hrs to your choice of location.
We suggest compensating you with 30% of the total funds thereafter.
You are required as a matter of urgency to furnish me the information below:
Dr. Henry Uwalaka.