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:
- "i am using this medium to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "offshore account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Fmr. National Security Adviser" <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 7 Jun 2016 03:53:43 -0500
Subject: Safe-keep and investment
I make this appeal with the hope that I can trust you to assist me secure my funds in an offshore account in Europe. The content of this mail are expressed in confidence and solely for your personal information.
I am Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd), former national security adviser. I am using this medium to request for your assistance in transferring ownership of the sum of $28.8m presently invested in an offshore bank in Europe. The fund is proceed from over inflated military contract awarded during my time as the national security adviser. I am presently placed on arrest and facing series of financial crime litigation. I have had all of my assets confiscated by the Government.
I am seeking your assistance to transfer ownership of this fund to you for safe-keep and investment and preventing the fund from being seized by the government. Thus far, the Nigerian government has not traced this account and it will remain so to the extent that this proposal remain confidential.
I offer you 20% of the total sum for your assistance, 80% will be mine. I assure you that this transaction is risk-free. More details will be availed to you upon your reply with required information.
As a former government official already facing trial, I can not afford more scandals, you are also advised to act swiftly. If my proposal is accepted, then fill out the below with your information.
Mobile phone number:
My lawyer will contact you upon your reply to prepare the necessary document that will give you access to the fund. I await your reply.
Col. Dasuki Sambo (rtd)