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:
- "% has been mapped out to cover" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "contract award committee" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "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: "NGERIAN NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 19 Aug 2011 15:09:06 -0700
Subject: Re:THIS EMAIL IS RESPECTFULLY YOURS(URGENT)
N.N.P.C Falomo Office Complex
Lagos – Nigeria.
I got your contact address and necessary information about you from a international business directory. I therefore picked a keen interest in its information and to request for this business relationship with you. Briefly, may i take this liberty to introduce myself as the principal Accountant of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
I am privileged to be the chairman of the contract review committee set-up by the present civilian government of Nigeria to audit and review payment of foreign contractors. Subsequently, an international audit was carried out with the Nigerian National petroleum Corporation (NNPC) only to discover the sum of Eighteen million three hundred and sixty thousand U.S. dollars (us$18.36m) in their account as an unclaimed payment due for foreign contractors. This indeed represents 10% of the total contract value demand by the contract award committee of the NNPC from the foreign contractors. i informed the director general whose duty is to oversee daily activities of the corporation.
I asked the director general of his opinion over the discovered fund he confirmed that having considered the political situation in our country and my position as the chairman of the federal contract review committee, we arrived at the conclusion to use this opportunity to ensure our future by remitting the fund to a trusted person or your company’s account for our own interest. All we are looking for is a trustworthy person and honest partner whom we can use his company or individual account to get this outstanding fund remitted overseas, this is a life time opportunity considering the economic problem in Nigeria and we cannot afford to let it go. We therefore request you to act on our behalf to ensure the success of this transaction, hoping you will assist us. As a matter of fact, all modalities for the successful transfer of this money have been worked out; the present civilian government has approved the payment of all foreign contractors and this
(US$18.36m) Eighteen million three hundred sixty thousand United States dollars only outstanding included. So, if this transaction attracts your interest, then 30% of the total fund will be given to you as your share for using your account while 60% goes to us, the officials and the remaining 10% has been mapped out to cover all expenses to be incurred by both parties during the course of this transaction. To be enclosed in your reply are the following: 1. Your name, address, phone and fax numbers, for easy communication; contact me immediately you receive this letter through my email address written above so that i can reach you with detailed information on the next line of action.
We are looking forward to your favorable response.