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:
- "million 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)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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: Ubah Desmond <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Ubah Desmond <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2014 13:20:15 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: @ FROM DESMOND & ASSOCIATE ! #
FROM DESMOND & ASSOCIATE
130 BANK ANTHONY WAY IKEJA GRA LAGOS
Good day to you sir. Firstly, I have to apologize for sending this sensitive information to you via e-mail, instead of the formal postage which should have been more appropriate. However, this is due to the urgency and importance of the information. Accordingly, I have to inform you that this project is based on Trust, confidentiality and sincerity of purpose in order to have an acceptable meeting of the minds.I am a 52 year old established lawyer. My name is Desmond Ubah,a personal attorney to an expatriate consultant(Now deceased)with an American Oil company,PENNZOIL.He died in the Tsunami disaster on 26th December 2004 while on vacation in Thailand.
Ten years ago, my Client successfully executed a contract for the Federal Government of Nigerian worth of US$195 million dollars. A part payment of US$140 million dollars was paid to my client, while the balance of US$55 million Dollars was still unpaid before my client died in the Tsunami disaster on 26th December 2004 while on vacation in Thailand.. However, over the years all my efforts to locate the possible next of kin to my late client have proved abortive, though I have to state that he remained single until his death at 48.
NOW THE CRUX OF THIS E-LETTER is that the new elected Government Of Nigerian is fully paying all foreign contractors who have successfully executed their contracts and my client is among those benefiting from this quarter payment schedule which has already been deposited in his bank account. As his personal attorney/Adviser, his bank has officially notified and instructed me to forward particulars of my late client's next of kin within the next 14 official working days so that he/she can be paid the outstanding US$55 Million dollars otherwise his payment will be diverted to the government account as unclaimed bill. Since I have been unsuccessful in locating any of his relatives, I have decided to contact you for a deal so that we can work together as a team to remit the money to your account as my late client's next of kin since I do not want to seat and watch my client hard earned entitlement to go to undeserving persons. This will be easy for us to achieve because you are of the same country with him.
All that is needed now is your honest co-operation to enable us see this deal through. I guarantee that this transaction will be executed under a Legitimate banking arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law. Upon successful conclusion of this transaction, you will be compensated with 30% of the total fund, while 70% will be for me and my colleagues. If you are interested to work with me in regards to this deal then kindly reply, so as to enable me update you with information needed from you to facilitate the due process of fund claim and transfer away from here.Reply to my personal email address: firstname.lastname@example.org