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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "may come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million united states dollars" (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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "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)
- "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 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "MINERALS AND ENERGY" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2013 14:53:01 +0200
Subject: FROM DEPARTMENT OF MINERALS AND ENERGY(PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL)
DEPARTMENT OF MINERALS AND ENERGY
REG NO 2002/015527/06
FROM OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR,
PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION UNIT
DEPARTMENT OF MINERALS AND ENERGY
REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA
Private telephone Number;+27 78 058 4002
I know that this proposal may come to you as a surprise especially having to come from someone you have not met before, but I would like you to co-operate with me so that this US$35M will be released and transferred into your account.
My name is MR.PAUL JACOB MAROGA the CEO / chairman of contract award committee of Department of minerals and energy company LTD, republic of South Africa. It is my profound intention to contact you for this very important and highly confidential transaction for the transfer of US$35,000, 000,.00 into your account. the (US$35,000,000.00) was the over estimated balance from the contracts awarded to both foreign and local contractors the real contract value was US$120 million united states dollars, but it was over estimated to the tune of (US$155,000, 000,00) (one hundred and fifty five million united states dollars only).
The contract has been successfully executed by the contractors and their contract sum of (US$120M) has been paid to them, leaving our over estimated balance of (US$35,000, 000. 00) United States dollars still pending at the bank. Right now, we are left with this over estimated balance of (US$35M) which is still floating at the escrow account in the South African reserve bank awaiting final payment to any reliable foreign bank account you may provide.
I am therefore asking you to co-operate with me so that the fund will be released and transferred into your account. if you are interested in this my proposal, reply me so that we can negotiate your percentage before we can proceed however, when the fund is transferred into your account over there, I shall obtain visa and travel with my family over there for my own share of this money in this regarding would like you to send me the following informations through the email address below for security reasons email;firstname.lastname@example.org
You're Company if any:
Name of Company if any:
Your Private Phone
Your Private Fax Numbers:
Thank you and I am looking forward to hearing from you and working with you soon, bye for now and have a nice day.
My best regards,