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)
- 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.
- +447087641241 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "ExxonMobil London." <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2014 18:47:55 -0300
Subject: WE NEED YOU URGENTLY.
Surrey, KT22 8UX.
I am Mr. William R. Howell, representing the operation and corporate
affairs in contract related matters of Exxon Mobil in London
(http://www.exxonmobil.com). Exxon Mobil is one of the World Largest oil
producing and Management Company with over 1.2 Trillion pounds Capital
As a senior operational and corporate affairs representative of Exxon
Mobil that handle contract related matters, I successfully over invoiced a
contract few years back which is not known by anybody and, I need your
cooperation and partnership to re-profile this contract funds amounting to
US.5M to your name as the contractor that executed this contract in Asia
The fund will be paid to you through a Finance Company where it is
presently deposited as soon as the filing and documentation process is
concluded in your name because the contract was executed by Exxon Mobil
United Kingdom in Asia.
Most importantly, you will be required to fill your data's stated below to
enable me arrange legal documents that will proof you as a sole contractor
with EXXON MOBIL:
(1). Stand as the beneficiary / contractor with Exxon Mobil to receive the
funds as I will present you before the firm with legal documents.
(2). Receive the funds into a business/personal bank account in your
(3). At the completion of this transaction, the sharing rates shall be 60%
for me, 40% for you.
(4) Full Names;
(5) Contact Address:
(6) Direct Telephone No:
(8) Age and Marital Status:
(9) Means of Identification:
Note: Do not contact my office number or company email for security
reasons. Get back to me as soon as possible For more details about the
funds.Please E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. William R. Howell,
Operation and Corporate Affairs Officer
Direct Tel: +447087641241