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:
- "hundred thousand united states dollars" (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)
- ",500,000" (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 highly confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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: "Engr. Ian G. Udoh" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 20 Aug 2017 22:06:12 -0700
Subject: Request for Your Kind Assistance
I know this letter will be of a surprise to you. I am Engr. Ian Gregory Udoh, Operational Manager, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). I contacted you because of a business transaction that shall be of benefit to us.
In 2012, JGC Engineering, Japan was awarded a contract for Turn Around Maintenance worth of US$2.6 billion for the Three refineries in Nigeria (Warri, Port Harcourt and Kaduna) and the contract terms and agreements were reached with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Nigerian Government and they have completed the contracts and their payment made to them, which they Three refineries have started production.
The contract for Turn-Around Maintenance for the three refineries awarded to the JGC Engineering, Japan had an over-invoice sum of US$86,500,000.00 (Eighty-Six Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars only), during the Board Of Directors meeting last week, they approved the over-invoice sum and request that I should submit the contractors details for payment, because I told them that the above sum is for Supplies of Pipelines, and the NNPC Board of Directors does not know that the US$86.5 million is an over-invoice. Prior to that, I want to present you to the NNPC Board as the contractor that supplied the pipelines for the Turn Around Maintenance.
Lastly, this transaction is highly confidential and I need your utmost assistance in receiving this fund, because I cannot handle it due to my job ethics. It will be great if you will accept this offer and bear in mind that this transaction is legal and genuine. If you are interested, let me know for further details, but if not let me know as well, so that I can source for another person for this business transaction.
Engr. Ian Gregory Udoh
Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation
Direct Tel: +234-905-993-8954
Private E-mail: email@example.com