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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "into your nominated bank account" (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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "confidential business" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "i got your address from " (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "contract award committee" (the name of a person or institution often appearing 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.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
Fraud email example:
From: CHRISTIAN MARSHALL <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 19 Dec 2011 00:52:47 -0600
Subject: Letter of Intent
JUAN CARLOS C-14541 PLAZA
28006 MADRID (SPAIN)
Tel: +34-672 810 927
REQUEST FOR AN URGENT CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS
I got your name and your address from the British Chamber of Commerce
and Industries, after due deliberation with my colleagues, I have
decided to forward to you this business proposal. We want a reliable
person who could assist us to transfer the sum of Three Million Five
Hundred Thousand Euro (3,500,000.00) into his / her account.
This fund resulted from an over-invoiced bill from contracts awarded
by us under the budget allocation to my Ministry United Nations and
this bill has been approved for payment by the concerned Ministries.
The contract has since been executed, commissioned and the contractor
was paid the actual cost of the contract. We are left with the balance
3.5M as part of the over-invoiced amount which we have deliberately
over estimated for our own use. But under our protocol division, civil
servants are forbidden to operate or own foreign accounts. This is why
I am contacting you to be our custodian for this fund, and we don't
want any third party on this transaction.
As you may want to know and to make you less curious, I got your
address from address in internet site that portrayed your (you)
establishment in good light. I am the Chief Accountant/Internal
Auditor of the Contract Award Committee (CAC) of the United Nations.
This transaction is very much free from all sorts of RISKS and TROUBLE
from the Government. We the United Nations Officials involved in this
deal have put in many years in service to this Ministry. We have been
exercising patience for this opportunity for so long and to most of us
this is a life time opportunity we cannot afford to miss. You need not
to worry about the responsibilities of transferring this fund into
your account, for all the administrative steps needed for the transfer
of this fund into your designated bank account will be done by me. I
and my colleagues have agreed to COMPENSATE you duly if agreement is
reached by both of us and the Principal will be shared on a 50/50 basis.
I and one of my colleagues involved in this deal will come to your
country to arrange for our share, upon the confirmation from you that
the money has been credited into your nominated bank account.
Consequent upon your acceptance of this proposal, kindly confirm your
interest by Telephone to me, through my Direct Tel No: +34-672 810 927
or Fax No: +34-911 820 388, E-mail: email@example.com
your indication by revert Telephone or Fax to me of your sincere and
serious interest will enable me send you the PROCEDURE FOR OPERATION.
If my line is busy, please keep trying you will surely get through.
NOTE: In the event of your inability to handle this transaction please
inform us so that we can look for another reliable person who can
assist in this respect.
It might surprise you why we choose you and trusted you for this
transaction, yes, we believe that good friends can be discovered and
business like this cannot be realized without trust. This is why we
have decided to trust you for this transaction. We are looking forward
to doing this transaction with you. Be further informed that
everyone's interest and security had been considered before you were
contacted, so be rest assured and feel free to go into this
transaction with us.
But let Honesty and Trust be our watchword throughout this transaction
and your prompt reply will be highly appreciated.
Thank you and God bless.
MR. CHRISTIAN MARSHALL