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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "chief auditor" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Ewe Ortega" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2012 09:29:39 +0300
Subject: Strictly Business
>From the Desk of: Dr Ewe Ortega.
I am Dr. Ewe Ortega, Chief Auditor of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, I got your contact from a business directory and I believe you are well positioned to assist me in a very important business
transaction involving the sum of thirty Million, Six Hundred and Twenty One Thousand United States Dollars. During the course of our reconciliation and balancing of account, two of my colleagues and I
discovered that the sum of thirty Million Six Hundred and Twenty One Thousand United States Dollars is a floating fund realized from the sales of crude oil in the past one year. As a result of the Gulf crisis, the
NNPC has a windfall in the sale of crude oil running into Billions of Dollars as against the estimated revenue in the fiscal year. By and large,the amount of money realized was above the calculated barrels of crude oil that was sold. We have submitted our balance sheet for the sales to the federal government and it has since been vetted and signed by the presidency.
Currently, the floating funds are in a safe custody of a security outfit.My colleagues and I now reached an understanding to contact a foreigner well placed to receive the funds in his account as we are not allowed to operate a foreign account. You shall be part of the sharing of the funds if we have your cooperation to receive the funds. We hope you have a good company account that can accommodate this funds and of which you are the sole signatory.
Upon your acceptance to assist and be part of this business, we shall acquaint you with the details of the transaction. We shall also send a representative to your country to meet with you and discuss plans on areas of investment on properties or blue chip companies with high return on investment with your expertise, when you confirm the receipt of the funds.
Be rest assured that this transaction will not subject you to any form of risk whatsoever. However, in view of the fact that we are public officials, we trust you will maintain and properly manage the confidentiality of all the information relating to this transaction, which we have accordingly code "FORTUNE" which must use for all correspondences henceforth.
Your urgent response will be appreciated.
Dr. Ewe Ortega.