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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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)
- "foreign remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "nigeria national petroleum corporation" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "lagos" (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 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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "ALH SHEHU LADAN" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2012 10:40:15 -0500
Subject: FROM THE OFFICE OF DIRECTOR OF FINANCE (NNPC)
FROM THE OFFICE OF DIRECTOR OF FINANCE (NNPC)
FOREIGN REMITTANCE DEPARTMENT
TINUBU SQUARE,VICTORIA ISLAND,
NNPC CONTRACT #: MAV/NNPC/FGN/MIN/009
Swift Code: BPH KPL PK,
WE APOLOGIZE 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 APOLOGIZE ONCE AGAIN.
FROM THE RECORDS OF OUTSTANDING CONTRACTORS DUE FOR PAYMENT WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA, YOUR NAME AND COMPANY WAS DISCOVERED AS NEXT ON THE LIST OF THE (15) OUTSTANDING CONTRACTORS WHO HAVE NOT YET RECEIVED THEIR PAYMENTS DURING THE (10)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, USA.
ACCOUNT NUMBER: 6503809008.
ROUT # : 322271627
SWIFT CODE #: WMSBUS66
ADDRESS:1723 PALMDALE BULV.
PALMDALE CA. 93550
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 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, YOU WILL BE DIRECTED ON THE NEXT PROCEDURAL STEP PRIOR TO THE RELEASE OF YOUR FUNDS HERE IN NIGERIA. 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. WE ARE SORRY FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE THE DELAY IN TRANSFERRING OF YOUR FUND MUST HAVE BEEN CAUSED BY YOU. CONTACT US AT(firstname.lastname@example.org).
NB.THE NIGERIA NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION AWARDED THE FUNDS TO YOU IN ORDER FOR YOU TO ESTABLISH A REFINERY THERE IN THE UNITED STATE, THEN WE COULD IMPORT
CRUDE OIL TO YOU AND THAT YOU SHOULD BE ONE OF OUR AGENT IN THE STATE. WE WILL GIVE YOU FURTHER INSTRUCTION AS SOON AS YOU RECEIVE THE FUNDS.
ALH SHEHU LADAN
NNPC DIRECTOR OF FINANCE