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)
- "nigeria national petroleum corporation" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Williams Wilcox" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 5 Apr 2016 02:08:12 -0700
Greetings to you, I know that this message might meet you in utmost surprise as both of us has never know or meant each other before, but due to an urgent need for a foreign partner which necessitated my contacting you for an urgent business transaction.
I am working with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation.(NNPC) as The Head of Contracts Awarding Committee. There is this funds amounting to the tune of USD15.5Million which I have concluded every arrangement to transfer to a foreign account through our Apex bank.
This funds was realized from An Over-Invoice Contract awarded to some Foreign Contractors for the Turn Around Maintenance of our three Refineries here that was costed to the tune of USD250Million which I used my position as the Head of the Contract Awarding Panel to over influenced to the tune of USD265.5Million.
All the foreign contractors that executed the project has been paid now left with this Over-Invoiced sum of USD15.5Million. As a serving civil servant we are not allowed to operate a foreign account which was why am contacting you in order to front you as a sub-contractor and use your account there in your country to receive this payment.
I am willing to compensate with 30% of the total funds on completion of the transaction and you will also assist me to invest the rest of the funds in any profitable investment there in your country. Be rest assured that this is 100% free risk and I have concluded every arrangement to have this funds move out to a foreign account.
If you are in acceptance on this proposal, kindly get back to me and forward your company`s name, address, Account Details and your Private contacts.
Mr Williams Wilcox