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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- ",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)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. W. Stuart Symington" (may be fake)
Reply-To: < firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2019 09:01:39 +0200
Subject: Your attention is required.
THIS MAIL IS ONLY FOR THE OWNER OF THIS E-MAIL ADDRESS
CONSULATE OFFICE OF UNITD STATES OF AMERICA
2 Walter Carrington Crescent Victoria Island, Lagos Nigeria
DIRECT PHONE NO:234-9058868743
DIRECT FAX NO:5668868743
IRREVOCABLE PAYMENT NOTICE
This is sequel to the meeting we had on Thursday with the director of ministry of finance, to inform you that the total amount of your inheritance fund approved by Nigerian Government to remit to you is only $5,500,000.00USD.
We have decided to take this issue upon ourselves to safeguard you from these criminal minded individuals whose only interest was to extort money from you.
This is inline with the agreement i signed with the Nigerian Government on my assumption of office as the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, resulting from complains we receive daily on scams in Nigeria and Africa, Asia and Europe etc.
So you are hereby advised to contact my office on the above email and phone number, reconfirm your full name, mailing/billing information, a direct phone /fax numbers the name of your next of kin and a copy of your international passport or driver's licences identification for record purpose and effective delivery of your Credit Card.
However always keep me posted as soon as you receive your Credit Card value of your fund, we have calculated and approved the arrival of your Credit Card to be within three working days upon the receipt of the above details.
Mr. W. Stuart Symington.
United States Consulate to Nigeria