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:
- "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. )
- ",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)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Greg Williams" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 21 May 2021 16:09:39 +0200
Subject: Your Involvement.
It is with trust and confidence and for whom you are in the society that I write to make this urgent business proposal to you. I was assigned by two of my colleague to seek for a foreign partner offshore my country, who will assist us in providing a convenient foreign account in any designated bank for the transfer of$35,500,000.00 pending on our arrival in your country for disbursement accordingly.
This amount resulted from a deliberate inflation of Contract Value awarded by our ministry - The Federal Ministry of Agriculture (FMA) to an expatriate Company (precisely Deere machinery USA Inc for supply of Agricultural Tractors/ Machinery). The contract was executed and payment made to them, remaining the over-invoiced amount of $35.5 million, which we want to transfer now in your favour for disbursement among ourselves. The transfer of this money can only be possible with the help of an Oversea Partner who will be presented as the beneficiary of the fund.
As a government officials, we are not allowed to operate foreign accounts, hence the need to contact you. We have agreed that 35% of the total sum will be for you for providing the account while 5% will be set aside for the expenses incurred during the cost of transfer of the fund into your account while 60% will be reserved for us.
We hereby solicit for your assistance in providing a convenient Offshore account 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. For security reasons we demand that you keep his proposal and the entire transaction to yourself alone.
Be rest assured that this transaction is 100% risk free, therefore we require you mail us the followings details, name and address and Banking Coordinates. I am on standby to give more details as you may require.
Note that the particular nature of your company's business is irrelevant to this transaction. if this transaction interests you, your urgent response will be appreciated.
Looking forward to hearing from you soonest.
Deputy Director,(Fed Mins.of Agriculture)