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:
- "may come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",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)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Yaya Husseni" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2011 07:33:33 -0800
Subject: Re: Business Relation
Re: Business Relation
This letter may come to you as a surprise since it is coming from someone you have not met before. However, we decided to contact you based on a satisfactory information we had about your business person as regard business information concerning your country and the safety of our funds in a steady economy such as that of your country compared to our country Nigeria Africa.
I am a civil adviser currently working with the monitoring committee overseeing the winding up of the petroleum trust fund (PTF). Myself and my close and trusted colleagues need your assistance in the transfer of US$125 million into any reliable Account you may nominate overseas. This fund was generated from over-invoicing of contracts executed by the PTF under the administration of the past government. These were discovered while we were reviewing the PTF accounts.
From our discoveries, these contracts have been executed and the contractors in question were all paid. The difference of US$125,000,000 being the over-invoiced amount is the funds, we want your corporate entity to help us receive. What we want from you is a good and reliable company or personal Account into which we shall transfer this fund.
Details should include the following:
1. Name of Bank
2. Address of Bank with Fax & Tel. No.
3. Account Number
4. Beneficiary/Signatory to Account (Account Name)
Upon the Successful crediting of your Account. The fund will be shared as follows:
1. 20% for you and your assistance
2. 75% for myself & my Colleagues
3. 5% for contingency expenses.
Please after your first reply through e-mail, I will want us to continue further communication by fax and telephone for confidential purpose. We wish to assure you that your involvement should you decide to assist us, will be well protected, and also, this business, proposal is 100% risk free as we have put a whole lot into it.
Thank you for your anticipated cooperation while we look forward to a mutually benefiting business relationship with you. Please when replying to my e-mail kindly include your telephone, fax number and mobile telephone numbers preferably extremely private numbers where we can reach you any time of the day. Please be aware that a high level of confidentiality and trust is required in this business.