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:
- "await your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. Okwu Joseph Nnanna" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 22 May 2016 04:34:57 -0500
Subject: RE: We await your urgent response
This is to inform you that this office did received payment advice from The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to pay to you the total amount of US$5.8 Million. Note that a final approval has been given to your claim and your funds have been transferred from the International Finance Corporation World Bank Group who has the final authority to transfer out of the shores such amount of Fund.
We have just received an email from one (Mr Williams Barnes) an American Citizen who introduced himself as your next of kin also that you have instructed him to receive the funds into his account on your behalf. (Mr Williams Barnes) informed us that you are dead also that the instruction was given to him before your death. We have asked him to forward the copy of the letter you gave him for prove that you are the one that sent him to claim your fund but have not yet heard from him. We are writing you to confirm this message and if it is not true, you are required to forward with immediate effect the following information to enable us carry out this transfer to your account within the next 48 hours.
Forward as a matter of urgency the following:
FULL NAMES AND ADDRESS:..................
BANK NAME AND ADDRESS:...................
The only thing required from you is to obtain the transfer authority to remit which proves that you are the rightful beneficiary of this fund as we don't want the fund to get to the wrong hands. And also endeavor to give me a call if you know you did not send MR. (Mr Williams Barnes) for Fund unfailingly anytime of the day, confirming receipt of this mail.
We await your urgent response.
Dr. Okwu Joseph Nnanna (Board Member)
Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability