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:
- ",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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Finance Minister" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2011 21:46:20 -0800
Subject: African Union Compensation Directive
This is Dr. Olusegun Aganga, the New Finance Minister of Nigeria writing to inform you that based on the scam reports we received, the African Union (AU) Anti-fraud team in collaboration with the United Nations (UN) are making sure that internet fraud is wiped out in the Africa continent completely. The Internet Service Providers have noticed the increased email traffic originating from Africa to other continents, hence the action of the security operatives.
In this regards, three hundred and six (306) scammers have been arrested so far and arrest is still on. We have recovered the total sum of US$3.2 Billion from them both cash and assets confirmed to have come from their victims. As we have found thousands of email addresses of victims from their address books. It is at this juncture that we are contacting you.
The African Union (AU) with the United Nation (UN) are making refunds of US$1,000,000.00 each to victims whom his/her email address was listed on the
scammer's address books and also paying fully all those who have been defrauded at the pursue of their funds owed to them.
Contact me to know the modalities with which your refunds will get to you.
NOTE: You are hereby advised not to contact those scammers again
Dr. Olusegun Aganga