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:
- "confidentiality of this transaction" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "is 100% risk free" (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.
- 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: "Dr.Ken Obiorah" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 5 Aug 2020 15:38:22 -0700
Subject: Business Proposal... M.T.C 103
Dear Good Friend
I am Dr.Ken Obiorah, a Chatered accountant by profession working with the Federal Ministry Of Agriculture in Nigeria. Perhaps you might be wondering why you have received this mail, but I can assure you that at the end, we both will be having discussion as to whatever profitable business(es) we should invest our respective share(s) in. I was assigned by two of my colleagues to seek for a foreign partner who will assist us in providing a convenient foreign account in any designated bank abroad for a transfer of US$52,750,000.00 pending on our arrival in your country for utilization and disbursement with the owner of the account.
This amount results from a deliberate inflation of the value of a contract awarded by our Ministry (The Federal Ministry of Agriculture, F.M.A) to an expatriate company who supplied Agricultural equipment to the Ministry. The contract has been executed and payment made to the ORIGINAL contractor, remaining the over-invoiced amount of US$52,750,000.00.which we want to transfer the fund out of the country for disbursement among ourselves (i.e You being the foreign counterpart, I and my other two colleagues). The transfer of this money can only be possible with your help being a foreigner who will be presented as the beneficiary of the fund.
As Civil servants, we are not allowed to operate foreign accounts, and this is the reason why I decided to contact you. We have agreed that if you/your company can act as the beneficiary of this fund (US$52,750,000.00 million), 15% of the total sum will be for you for assisting us from start to finish in this venture while 85% will be reserved for us.
We hereby solicit for your assistance in providing your convenient banking coordinate in a designated bank in your country where this fund would be transferred. We intend coming over on the completion of this transfer to secure our own share of the money.
Please note that we have been careful and have made all arrangements towards the success and smooth transfer of the fund to your account before I contacted you. For security reasons and confidentiality of this transaction, we demand that you should not expose this proposal and the entire transaction to anybody.
We are putting so much trust in you with the hope that you would not betray us or sit on this money when it is finally transferred into your account. Be rest assured that this transaction is 100% risk free. If this proposal is acceptable by you, indicate your interest by sending your response via an email to me including your working cellphone number.
Note that the particular nature of your company's business is not necessary needed for this transaction. if this transaction interests you, your urgent response will be appreciated.