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)
- "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)
- "to 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)
- "foreign remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "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.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Minister; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Office of Director of Finance (NNPC)" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 10 Feb 2012 16:09:59 -0000
Subject: ATTENTION PLEASE!
>From the Office of Director of Finance (NNPC)
Foreign Remittance Department
NNPC Towers, Herbert Macaulay Way,
Central Business District, Abuja.
NNPC Contract #:MAV/NNPC/FGN/FMF/2012
Swift Code: BPH KPL PK
Our Ref: NNPC/IRD/NNX/21/2012
We apologies for the delay of your payment and all the inconveniences we might have put you through, while we were having some minor problems with our payment system which in all case not meeting up with foreign payments, we apologies once again from the records of outstanding contractors due for payment with the Federal Government of Nigeria, we lost your contact information, at last we findly got your email address was discovered as next on the list of the (13) outstanding contractors who have not yet received their payments during the (8) years tenure of the
previous administration in office please bear with us for making the initial contact through email.
Meanwhile, a woman came to my office a few days ago with a letter, claiming to be your true representative.
Here is her information below:
Name Anne Robinson
Bank name: Citibank , Arizona , U.S.A
Account number: 6503809008.
Please, do reconfirm to this office, as a matter of urgency if this woman is from you so that the federal government will not be held responsible for paying into the wrong account name if this woman is not your rep, you are requested to fill and send this information?s for verifications purposes so that your fund valued ($10.million) us dollars will be remitted into your nominated bank account. Kindly re-confirm to me the followings:
1) Your full name
2) Phone, fax and mobile
3) Company name, position and address.
4) Profession, age and marital status.
5) Working I.d/int'l passport.
As soon as this information is received, your payment will be made to you in a ATM CARD or wired to your nominated bank account directly from a commercial bank here in London. This is the First quarter payment of the year. However, we shall proceed to issue all payments details to the said Mrs. Anne Robinson, if we do not hear from you within the next three working days from today.
Direct your email to the office of my financial secretary office with email address:email@example.com
We are sorry for any inconvenience the delay in transferring of your fund must have caused you.
Mr. Augustine O. Oniwon
(General Managing Director)