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:
- "million 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)
- "million 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)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "there is no risk involved" (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: "Henkel Odo" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 16 Sep 2018 17:22:03 +0200
Subject: FROM: ENGR.Henkel Odo
CONFIDENTIAL REQUEST TO RECEIVE $237 MILLION DOLLARS INTO YOUR BANK ACCOUNT.
I AM ENGR.Henkel Odo.I AM THE DIRECTOR OF CONTRACTS AWARDING AND PROCUREMENT COMMITTEE IN THE NIGERIAN NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION,NNPC.
MY COLLEAGUES AND I HAVE A TOTAL SUM OF $237 MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS,A PRODUCT OF DELIBERATE OVER INVOICING IN A CONTRACT WE AWARDED TO A FOREIGN ENGINEERING OIL SERVICES COMPANY.THE CONTRACT HAVING BE PROPERLY EXECUTED AND COMMISSIONED.WE ARE NOW LOOKING FOR AN HONEST AND CAPABLE INDIVIDUAL/FOREIGN COMPANY WHOM WE WILL FRONT AS A SUB-CONTRACTOR,IN ORDER TO PROCESS AND RELEASE THE ABOVE SUM,AND SHARE FOR OUR MUTUAL BENEFITS.
THERE IS NO RISK INVOLVED IN THIS TRANSACTION,BECAUSE ALL MACHINERY ARE IN PLACE FOR A SUCCESSFUL AND HITCH FREE EXERCISE.FOR FURTHER CLARIFICATIONS,DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT ME IMMEDIATELY.