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:
- "outstanding contractors" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "your payment is being processed" (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)
- "million 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)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "email@example.com" (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: "Prof Nnamdi Mbutu" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 19 Aug 2011 17:03:31 +0200
Subject: Your Approved Payment
WEST AFRICAN JOINT TASK FORCE ON OUTSTANDING PAYMENT
FOREIGN /CONTRACT PAYMENT DEPARTMENT
935 REBENI CARLINFONE AVENUE,
#29 APO EXTENSION,
REPUBLIC OF BENIN-COTONOU
>From the records of outstanding contractors due for payment with the WEST
AFRICAN JOINT TASK FORCE ON OUTSTANDING PAYMENT your name was discovered
as next on the list of the outstanding contractors who have not received
their payments. I wish to inform you that your payment is being processed
and will be released to you as soon as you respond to this email.
Also note that from my record in my file your outstanding contract payment
is US$15.7 million dollars(Fifteen million seven hundred thousand united
states dollars) Please re-confirm to me if this is inline with what you
have in your record and also re-confirm to me the following
1) Your full name.
2) Phone, fax and mobile :
3) company name,position and address :
5) How do you intend to receive the payment:
As soon as this information are received your payment will be made
processed and released to you,Endeavor to get back to me as soon as
Prof Nnamdi Mbutu.
DIRECTOR WEST AFRICAN JOINT TASK FORCE ON OUTSTANDING PAYMENT FOREIGN
/CONTRACT PAYMENT DEPARTMENT