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)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "abuja" (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: Mohammed Hamza <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2011 10:09:57 -0800 (PST)
Subject: PAYMENT OF YOUR OVER DUE FUND THROUGH DEDUCTION
OFFICE OF DIRECTOR DUE PROCESS UNIT
OLD SENATE BUILDING TBS,LAGOS.
PAYMENT OF YOUR OVER DUE FUND THROUGH DEDUCTION
Following directives and mandate this office received in respect of
your over-due contract fund valued at $15m , I am delighted to inform
you that your name was in the pay roll on the schedule of payment on
the category you belong . Now we are trying to recall back the schedule
and in the system, we were made to understand you have not receive your
fund, very dishearten that you have not received your fund because in
your payment schedule roll, other contractors short listed along side
with your name have received their fund since. This made you to benefit
from this new payment policy through reduction method.
When we cross examine into our computer diskette analysis data base we
discovered that you have not been paid for this reason your name has
been short listed among other contractors whose fund has been over due
for payment, who will benefit for deduction payment policy newly
Therefore, a WAIVER FORM QZ will be sent to you for deduction
certificate on your quick response to this mail.
As soon as this certificate is obtained which is for payment free,
all necessary upfront payment charges will be deducted from your fund.
The certificate is obtainable from office of Mr. President ASO ROCK VILLA ABUJA.
AS soon as this certificate is obtain, it will be taken to high court justice
for legal seal agreement stamp for notarization(this implies that you
are in affirmative agreement with the Government to deduct all
necessary fees from your fund). Now this certificate will be taken to
the ministry of finance for endorsement which will be later directed to
the accountant- general of the federation who will carry out the
deduction exercise before it moves to the auditor- general of the
federation for proper auditing and checks.
At this stage, the ministry finance will over see the deduction before it
will be taken to the paying bank for electronic telegraphic wire transfer.
If you can adhere to my instructions and directives this fund will be
confirmed into your account within the next five (5) working days.
Please you are advised to contact Mr. Bruce Alpine,the Director Due Process Unit in
the Presidency for proper action as detailed above.
We urge your maximum co-operation as we are obliged to serve you better
and to restore back lost hope to you.