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:
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "(efcc)" (This name is often mentioned in money recovery scams (re-scam): the real EFCC does not contact victims to offer to get their money back because that is near impossible. )
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Interpol Fraud Unit" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 6 Jun 2011 04:36:33 +0100
This is the internet fraud unit of the Interpol police, we are been mandated by the British High Commission and the FBI to combat internet fraud and our monitoring device picked up several signal transaction on your server and since then we have been monitoring all your internet transaction and we have just discovered that you have been into series of transaction and we have been on the trail ever since.
From our investigation you have been into a transaction worth of millions of dollars which you have spent money on, and we discovered from our investigation that you have been dealing with the wrong people. A compensation of six hundred and fifty thousand united state dollars ($650,000) has been allocated to all Americans, Europeans and Asian citizen who have been scammed and harassed on the internet. We are also been backed up by the UNITED NATIONS. We have been investigating emails been directed to selected individuals.
We want to clear your doubts; you are to continue your transaction with Dr. Dennis Smith of the (EFCC) compensation payment department immediately, In case you have lost his contact you can still reach him with his email: email@example.com. Please you are to notify us when you receive this email.
You are not to disclose this information to a third party as we are on the trail to get all perpetrators of cyber crime.
Thank you for your understanding
Head Internet Fraud Unit.