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:
- "contract award committee" (the name of a person or institution often appearing 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 (Mail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Prince Abdullah Imam" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2012 09:32:21 -0500 (EST)
Subject: INVESTMENT/PARTNERSHIP PROPOSAL
This is an urgent letter seeking your sincere capability to partake in a
mutual business transaction. I am Amin Al-Habbab and I am seeking your
assistance / partnership in receiving a huge un-claimed contract proceed.
I am a member of the IRAQI RECONSTRUCTION COMMITTEE, and I have been given
the mandate by my colleagues to seek for a silent foreign partner that
will act as our Appointed foreign contractor / beneficiary in claiming
the fund from our Offshore Recommendation Payment Centre (O.S.R.P.C.)
based in Europe and help in profitable investment ventures on our behalf.
Now, for us to successfully commence this mutual business, I will want to
inform you that this transaction is 100% legal and risk free. We need
someone that is trustworthy and honest and has the capability to handle
the large sum involved and as such, I would like you to provide me with a
brief resume of yourself.
Once I have had this response from you, I will feel a lot safer to divulge
vital aspects of this business transaction to you and provide you with all
the needed information which would enable us commence this mutual business
transaction immediately. Kindly forward your full contact details in your
response. Both parties will sign an agreement which will specify your
percentage for your assistance.
I wait to hear from you ASAP.
PRINCE ABDULLAH IMAM
FOR: CONTRACT AWARD COMMITTEE.
KHUALAFA ARRUSSFI SQUARE
MR.HENRY A.WAXMAN CHAIRMAN: OVERSIGHT
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org