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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "my direct line" (a "direct line" in a scam usually means an untraceable mobile phone number used by a scammer in an internet cafe, a redirection service number that forwards to a mobile or a free voicemailbox in a different country.)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Douglas T. Munatsi." <email@example.com>
Reply-To: "Mr. Douglas T. Munatsi." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2014 20:56:31 +0000 (UTC)
Â From: Mr. Douglas T. Munatsi
Director, Union Bank Plc,
My Direct Line: +2347082260906
Compliment of the season, I am contacting you to assist me in the transfer of $45million into your personal/company bank account for our benefit; this transaction is confidential and must remain fiduciary in all our dealings since I cannot execute this opportunity alone without the support of a foreigner. Is in line with the Laws governing Financial Institutions here in my Bank and that is why I have contacted you in this manner.
For your role in assisting me actualize this opportunity, you will be entitled to 40% of the total sum while 60% will be for me. However, what I need is your maximum cooperation and to provide a valid bank account where my bank will transfer this fund for our benefit. I await your good response and you can call me for more details.
Thanks and remain blessed.
Mr. Douglas T. Munatsi
Director, Union Bank Plc,