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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "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)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: (sent from abused email account)
Date: Sat, 29 Apr 2017 03:19:59 +0900
Subject: From The Desk Of: MR. BAILEY THOMAS
My Dear Friend,
It is my humble pleasure to solicit your strictest confidence in this transaction. My name is: MR THOMAS BAILEY, the financial controller of RIX Petroleum Scotland Ltd. UK. I am the officer in-charge of offshore remittances to contractors / beneficiaries. We are seeking your assistance to transfer the sum of Thirty Seven Million, Three Hundred Thousand Dollars (US$27,300,000.00) to your account for private investment.
This amount accrued from an over-invoiced contract amount for the construction of an Oil Refinery Sub- stations from 2012 to 2015 to expatriate companies.
The contract was originally valued for One Hundred and Twenty Million United States Dollar US$120,000,000.00) but we over-invoiced the figure to read $157,300,000.00. Therefore, we have perfected plans to quickly TRANSFER the extra US$37,300,000.00 to your bank account.
This contract has been completely executed and the original contractors have been paid all their contract bills less this $37,300,000.00 through Royal Bank of Scotland and Hermes Bank Limited.
We shall forward your personal details to the legal department of the Bank for the payment process of the balance US$37.3 Million. Be rest assured that all modalities are set for smooth execution of this viable transaction.
This transaction is 100% risk free, and requires absolute confidentiality. You must do this transaction alone! Awaiting your TOP URGENT Response today.
MR. BAILEY THOMAS