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:
- "foreign remittance manager" (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)
- "diplomatic courier" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "MR TONY OSAAZE" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2019 06:08:23 -0700
Subject: IMMEDIATE FUND OF 5.5 MILLION DOLLARS (USD)
UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA NIGERIA
HOFFICE ADDRESS UBA HOUSE
57 MARINA P.O. BOX 2406 LAGOS NIGERIA
PHONE +234 8024175283
I must say that I have enormous respect for you considering the manner in =
which I have made contact with you.
Am Mr. Tony Osaaze, Foreign remittance manager (F.R.M), United Bank for Af=
rica , We had a meeting with the entire board of directors and Internation=
al Monetary Fund (I.M.F.) in conjunction with Organization of African Unity=
(O.A.U) today and we have concluded that your compensation payment that is=
long overdue to be released to you, in this case get back to me now for li=
ttle instructions to follow and have your compensation payment released to =
you, both organizations has directed us to pay you FIVE MILLION FIVE HUNDRE=
D THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS ($5.500, 000.00) in cash through means of=
diplomatic courier service hand delivery. Take Note: Three thousand united=
states dollars (us $3,000) have been mapped out for all expenses, Therefor=
e, do forward your home address and Direct phone number, to this email: t=
for more details please call phone number +234 8024175283
MR TONY OSAAZE
Foreign remittance manager (F.R.M)
United Bank for Africa