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:
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "contract review panel" (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.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: (sent from abused email account)
Reply-To: David Willberg <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 2 Jul 2016 20:19:33 -0700
Subject: Request for Business Relationship.
First I must solicit your confidence in this transaction. This is by virtue of its nature as being utterly confidential and top secret. We shall be counting on your ability and reliability to handle a transaction of great magnitude involving a pending business transaction requiring maximum confidence.
We are top officials of the Federal Government Contract Review Panel who are interested in importation of goods into our country with funds which are presently trapped in United Kingdom. In order to commence this business we solicit your assistance to enable us RECEIVE the said trapped funds ABROAD.
The source of this fund is as follows : During the regime of the former UK Prime Minister, the government officials set up companies and awarded themselves contracts which were grossly over-invoiced in various Ministries. The present Government set up a Contract Review Panel (C.R.P) and we have identified a lot of inflated contract funds which are presently floating in the Banks. However, due to our position as civil servants and members of this panel, we cannot acquire this money in our names. I have therefore, been delegated as a matter of trust by my colleagues of the panel to look for an Overseas partner INTO whose ACCOUNT the sum of US$12,600,000.00 (Twelve Million, Six Hundred United States Dollars) WILL BE PAID BY TELEGRAPHIC TRANSFER. Hence we are writing you this letter.
We have agreed to share the money thus: 70% for us (the officials) 20% for the FOREIGN PARTNER (you) 10% to be used in settling taxation and all local and foreign expenses. It is from this 70% that we wish to commence the importation business. Please note that this transaction is 100% safe and we hope that the funds arrive your account in latest ten (10) banking days from the date of receipt of the following information: A suitable name and bank account into which the funds can be paid.
The above information will enable us write letters of claim and job description respectively. This way we will use your company's name to apply for payments and re-award the contract in your company name. We are looking forward to doing business with you and solicit your confidentiality in this transaction. For security reasons, please respond only to the below email address. I will bring you into the complete picture of this pending project when I have heard from you.
Please reply to my email addresses below.
Dr. David Willberg