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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "i will like you to " (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)
- ",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)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Sir Michael Uba" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2011 15:16:48 +0100
Subject: PLEASE, READ THIS LIFE CHANGING MESSAGE.
I will like you to read this mail with all seriousness. I am Mr. Michael Ubah, the Account Director of COMD (CRUDE OIL MARKETING DIVISION), a subsidiary of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) here in Lagos.
Am in the position to transfer the sum of Forty Five Million United States Dollars ($45,000,000.00) to your country for investment, as a director in the NNPC I need someone whom I can trust. As soon as the fund gets to your account I shall be coming to your country for the sharing.
Please note that these is not a fraudulent fund and are not drug related funds as well, these money came as a result of the rise in petroleum price world wide under my department and as the Director in charge of COMD finance, I was able to fiscally safe this fund in the government account. I know all the methods on how funds goes into and out of the NNPC. This funds will be transferred out to your account as contract funds and we are presenting your company as one which has done a contract with the COMD. Note also that it will be transferred to you as an honest fund as all the document to legitimize the transfer will be obtained legally.
As a Director under the NNPC and as a civil servant our constitution does not allow me to operate a foreign account these was just why I have to contact you. I beg you to cover my identity and help me in achieving this long life dream. All I am sincerely asking from you is to provide the following details in which we shall need to execute the transfer successfully.
(1) Your company name and address.
(2) Your Bank name and address including the beneficiary account where the fund will be wired.
(3) Your Private telephone number were I could reach you.
Account owner (You) 40%, we the beneficiary 60%, reply to me urgently through my email address with all the details that I needed to commence the transaction. Note that I have not contacted any body on these matters except you alone.
I wait sincerely to hear from you so that I can give you more details and clear you fear.