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:
- "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)
- "confidentiality of this transaction" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Greg" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2012 11:28:43 -0400
Subject: Re: 26/07/12
I plead your forgiveness over my unconventional approach to you regarding this matter, It is with trust and confidence that i write to make this
urgent business proposal to you, please treat it with utmost attention
I contacted you to seek for your assistance to assist me in providing a convenient foreign account in any designated bank abroad for the transfer
of US$45,600,000.00 (Forty Five Million, Six Hundred Thousand Dollars) pending on my arrival in your country for utilization and disbursement with
From a deliberate inflation of the value of a contract awarded by our ministry - the Presidency,(Independent National Electoral Commission)
(INEC) here in Nigeria to an expatriate companies for the supply of Direct Data Capture Machines, Training of Manpower etc. The contract has been
executed and payment made to the original contractors, remaining the over-invoiced amount of US$10.6m dollars which I want to transfer out of
the country in my favor for disbursement between me and you, the transfer of this money can only be possible with the help of a foreigner who will be
presented as the beneficiary of the fund. As government officials, we are not allowed to operate foreign accounts, and this is the reason why I
decided to contact you.
I have agreed that if you/your company can act as the beneficiary of this fund (US$45,600,000.00). It will be transferred into your account and you
will retain 40% of the total amount for your assistance, while 60% will be reserved for me. I hereby solicit for your assistance in providing a
convenient account number in a designated bank where this fund would be transferred. I intend coming over there on the completion of this transfer
to secure our share of the money.
Please note that I have been careful and have made all arrangements towards the success and smooth transfer of the fund to your account before
contacting you.For security reasons and confidentiality of this transaction, I demand that you should not expose this proposal and the
entire transaction to anybody.As a Woman I have put in so much trust in you with the hope that you would not betray me or sit on this money when it is
finally transferred into your account.Be rest assured that this transaction is 100% risk free? If this proposal is acceptable to you, indicate your
interest urgently by contacting immediately.More details about this transaction will be given to you as soon as I receive your positive
Note that the particular nature of your company's business is irrelevant to this transaction, If this transaction interests you, your urgent response
will be appreciated.
Independent National Electoral Commission