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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "cost of transfer" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "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 highly 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)
- "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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Alfred Macarthy" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 24 Apr 2021 01:48:28 +0200
Subject: Say your mind
PLEASE GO THROUGH THIS, AND GET BACK TO ME!!!
It is with trust and confidence that I write this urgent business proposal to you. The Internet would not have been the best way to reach you but since this letter is highly confidential and the Internet seems to be the most secure and fastest way of communication, I decided to reach you by this means.
I was assigned by two of my colleagues to seek a foreign partner who will assist us in providing a convenient foreign account in any designated bank abroad for the transfer of US$36.4 Million, pending 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 (FMA) to an expatriate company, the contract has been executed the contract long ago and agreed payment made to the original contractor, remaining the over-invoiced amount of US$36.4 Million (Thirty-Six Million Four Hundred Thousand United States Dollars Only), which we now want to transfer out of the country in your favor for disbursement among
ourselves. The transfer of this money can only be possible with the help of a foreigner who will be presented as the beneficiary of the fund.
As government officials, we are not allowed to operate foreign accounts and this is the reason why we decided to contact you. We have agreed that if you will act as the beneficiary of this fund, 25% of the total sum will be for you for receiving the fund for safe keeping while 5% will be set aside for the expenses incurred during the cost of transfer of the fund into your account while 70%will be reserved for us.
We hereby solicit for your assistance in providing a convenient account number in a designated bank where this fund would be transferred. We intend coming over there on the completion of this
transfer to secure our own share of the money and you will assist us for investment.
Please note that we have carefully made arrangements towards the success and smooth transfer of this fund out LEGALLY before contacting 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 on you with the hope that you would not betray us, OR sit on this money when it is finally transferred into your account. PLEASE be rest assured that this transaction is 100% risk free and will be concluded Legally and Note that the particular nature of your business is irrelevant to this
If this proposal is acceptable to you, indicate your interest without any delay by sending me your direct telephone number to discuss with you and start the documentation of the approval of Legal documents in your favor, Please get back to me for full details, my Telephone number is +234 8022423888.
Mr. Alfred Macarthy Bello
The Chief Accountant,
Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources