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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- "very 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)
- "chambers" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "offshore account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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: "Ademola Williams" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2019 09:59:23 +0200 (CEST)
Subject: MORE DETAILS!
I am Ademola Williams, an Accountant with the Nigerian National Petroleum
Corporation (NNPC). I Also headed A Seven-Man Tenders Board in charge of
Contract Awards and Payment Approvals. I came to know of you through a
search into the Yellow page of the Nigeria Chambers of Commerce and
Industries for a reliable and reputable person to handle a very
confidential transaction which involves the transfer of a huge Sum of
money to a Foreign Account.
Firstly, I want to crave your indulgence to handle this proposal with
utmost secrecy and give it the urgency it deserves
Sometimes in 2018, there were series of Contracts Executed by a Consortium
of Multi-Nationals in the Oil Industry in favor of my Corporation, NNPC.
The Original Value of this Contracts was deliberately over-invoiced for
our personal use. Please, note that the Companies that Actually Executed
these Contracts have been fully paid and the Projects Officially
Consequently, My Colleagues And I Are Willing To Transfer The the over
invoiced Amount To Your Account For Subsequent Disbursement, Since We,
Civil Servants Are Prohibited By law From Operating And/or-opening Foreign
Accounts In Our Names. Needless To Say, The Trust Reposed On You At This
Juncture Is Enormous.
It is the Over Invoiced which is currently in the suspense account of my
Corporation (NNPC) that I and my colleague have agreed to transfer into a
foreign account for Investment purpose. Based on this,I am asked by my
colleague to seek the assistance of a foreign partner with an Offshore
account in this regards.
At the successful transfer of the funds, it will shared on an agreed
percentage between me and my colleague on one side and you on the other
side. Though we are supposed to meet first but, due to the urgent nature
of the transaction, all that is more important to us is to get the funds
conveniently transferred out of this country into a foreign account
thereafter we can meet.
Please, indicate your willingness by contacting me through my private
email address above for more details / plans.