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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "a security company " (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. )
- "might come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "consignment " (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)
- "offshore account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "HALIM CIROMA" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2011 18:14:39 -1200
Subject: RESPOND URGENTLY PLEASE
Greetings to you.
I know this letter might come to you as a surprise owing to the fact that we have never heard previous correspondences before now but I want you to accept it in good faith as it was sent out of my desperate desire to get someone credible and capable who can assist me in executing this very crucial transaction.
Introduction, I am a top government functionary in my country. Presently I am the financial controller of the Federal Ministry of Finance in my country.
My Responsibility includes approving and paying off bills on behalf of my government to various international companies that have executed contracts for the government of my country. As a matter of fact, yearly, funds are allocated to my department for purpose of paying the government bills. Last year 2010 I personally inflated the bills of some Ministries and Parastatals, which subsequently left me with an excess sum of (US$6,330,000.00) Six Million Three Hundred and Thirty thousand US Dollars curbed out from the excess inflated contracts payments.
In view of this, I acted fast thereby depositing these excess funds in a Security Company in form of "Inherited Family Treasure. Since these funds are not known to any person, I decided to deposit it there for safe keeping until I get a credible and sincere partner who can receive it on my behalf because being a civil servant, keeping this huge sum in my local account will raise a lot of suspicion which could lead to any uncertainty on my part.
All through my life, I have been a civil servant so I have no opportunity to having access to a foreign account where I can smuggle funds into. I therefore wish to use this medium to implore you to act as my partner so you can receive these funds which will come to you as a consignment box with Family treasure while you deposit it in your offshore account after which I will come over to your country for the sharing of the funds and investment. I have arranged the transfer logistics through an insider in the security company to move these funds diplomatically to its final destination without any hindrance or trace.
I know that your role in this matter is of paramount importance; therefore I have considered a fair compensation of 30% to you after you help me receive this consignment box as the new beneficiary.
I will give you more details of this transaction as soon as I receive your affirmative response confirming your interest and sincerity in handling this transaction. Please I am most concerned about keeping this information secret. Thanks for your time.